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Old 01-14-2015, 08:05 PM   #1
UntoHim
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Default Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes
From my personal contact with other Christians, virtually no one has heard of Witness Lee, except for those who attended Christian clubs in university. A friend of mine who attended Intervarsity said that everyone goes through an orientation on campus explaining the dangers of Witness Lee, however, the impression given was that most of Watchman Nee's stuff was still okay.

Regarding my own LC experience, I did get a sense of stagnation in my LC before I left. Virtually every new person who came into our church life was a church kid, or was already in the LCs and only came because they moved into the area. There were barely any new ones, and the few that were attained eventually left. I found it not surprising because I once brought two of my close friends from college to a meeting where Ron Kangas was speaking, they headed for the exits after five minutes and said the atmosphere was extremely creepy and I was quite embarrassed.

There was always a sense of desperation in the LCs to increase their numbers. Before I left, they were really pushing the system of "vital groups" and the "God Ordained Way" as the solution to all their problems. Ironically, it's what made me really want to head for the exit as it was through that movement where I was exposed to more of the extreme teachings by Witness Lee which outrightly contradict the bible.

I remember my LC elder once saying "if you total those who left our LC and compare it to the ones here now, we would be a tiny minority". The number of ex-LCers probably dwarfs those still in the LCs by a wide margin. You get sometimes get a sense on this forum that the ex-LCers are like the smaller rebel alliance in star wars and the LCs are the empire, but we're probably the overwhelming majority and it's reflected in the active posters here.

Maybe virtually every current LC-er is destined to be an ex-LCer, interesting if you think about it, and perhaps a reason why we should still love and never give up on those in the LCs...

Regarding the comparisons, I like the references to Tim Keller and Francis Chan. They are some of my favorite pastors as well, and I found them to be of a great help after leaving because they destroyed my previous indoctrination that good Christian teaching was only found in Witness Lee's ministry.

Tim Keller's apologetic sermons were pivotal for one of my friends coming to Christ who was previously a strong atheist and humanist. Francis Chan is good for a wake up call everyone now and then. One of my favorite sermons from him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=havd_RVXOEM
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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From my personal contact with other Christians, virtually no one has heard of Witness Lee, except for those who attended Christian clubs in university. A friend of mine who attended Intervarsity said that everyone goes through an orientation on campus explaining the dangers of Witness Lee, however, the impression given was that most of Watchman Nee's stuff was still okay.

Regarding my own LC experience, I did get a sense of stagnation in my LC before I left. Virtually every new person who came into our church life was a church kid, or was already in the LCs and only came because they moved into the area. There were barely any new ones, and the few that were attained eventually left. I found it not surprising because I once brought two of my close friends from college to a meeting where Ron Kangas was speaking, they headed for the exits after five minutes and said the atmosphere was extremely creepy and I was quite embarrassed.

There was always a sense of desperation in the LCs to increase their numbers. Before I left, they were really pushing the system of "vital groups" and the "God Ordained Way" as the solution to all their problems. Ironically, it's what made me really want to head for the exit as it was through that movement where I was exposed to more of the extreme teachings by Witness Lee which outrightly contradict the bible.

I remember my LC elder once saying "if you total those who left our LC and compare it to the ones here now, we would be a tiny minority". The number of ex-LCers probably dwarfs those still in the LCs by a wide margin. You get sometimes get a sense on this forum that the ex-LCers are like the smaller rebel alliance in star wars and the LCs are the empire, but we're probably the overwhelming majority and it's reflected in the active posters here.

Maybe virtually every current LC-er is destined to be an ex-LCer, interesting if you think about it, and perhaps a reason why we should still love and never give up on those in the LCs...

Regarding the comparisons, I like the references to Tim Keller and Francis Chan. They are some of my favorite pastors as well, and I found them to be of a great help after leaving because they destroyed my previous indoctrination that good Christian teaching was only found in Witness Lee's ministry.

Tim Keller's apologetic sermons were pivotal for one of my friends coming to Christ who was previously a strong atheist and humanist. Francis Chan is good for a wake up call everyone now and then. One of my favorite sermons from him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=havd_RVXOEM
You hit the nail on the head, bearbear.

I suppose the fringe rebels eventually become an Empire of their own. By the end of Animal Farm, the pigs are in the house playing cards with the humans...
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:18 AM   #4
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Default Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

I have ambivalent feelings about the interesting and wide-ranging statistics provided by Nigel Tomes, not that I question them; in fact, I would like to see it compared to other criteria, as well. I am just not convinced that they necessarily prove a decline in membership or interest in Nee, Lee and/or the Local Church. Fact is, current membership only consume and digest the sanitized fare of Nee/Lee, nothing else. Why would they then have a need to do internet searches?

("Sanitized fare" means Paul Kerr's famous questions have been deleted as well as possibly the names and contributions of other "rebels". This is LSM's "spiritual" version of the paleo diet.)

For instance, I left fifteen years ago so I have no frame of reference to the turmoil of 2004–2006; I know very little about that but I assume that was the cutting off of Dong Yu Lan and Titus Chu.

I just believe you cannot confidently compare searches for Watchman Nee or Witness Lee with those of modern-day preachers who use the internet extensively to further their ministries and come to a conclusion whether the membership of the Local Church is shrinking or not; LSM does not use the internet extensively to promote the Local Churches. Sure, they maintain an internet presence but that is mainly as a library reference.

And the Local Church has changed: it has become more structured than fifteen or twenty years ago. It now has several permanent full-time training centers globally so the lecturers travel from Anaheim or wherever to the different training centers. They spend two weeks completing their own curriculum before leaving again. They do this every semester. I suppose many of the trainees have never even been to La Palma in Anaheim or Taipei but they would possibly be more familiar with London, Hamilton or Pretoria.

We could actually describe it as a decentralization of staff and assets. This could possibly be classified as effective measures, yet not reflect in statistics.

What would really interest me is numbers. How many are members of the Local Church in the US, in Europe, in Africa, in Australasia as well as countries in the Far East. How does today's statistics compare with that of 1985?

Perhaps Nigel can provide some input on that.

By the way, I tested the Lee Harvey Oswald blemishes on searches for Witness Lee. So I Googled "John Ingalls" and got two hits on the first two pages for the John Ingalls we know, with one hit linking to this forum. It certainly doesn't help that there was famous politician more than a century ago by the name of John James Ingalls.

Last edited by Friedel; 01-15-2015 at 05:25 AM. Reason: A little of this and a little of that
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Originally Posted by rayliotta View Post
I suppose the fringe rebels eventually become an Empire of their own...
George Lucas sold his Star Wars/Industrial Light empire to the Trade Federation, aka Disney, for some $4 Billion dollars.... eventually the evil Empire wins. So what if the RCC builds a Basilica which is hailed as the wonder of the world, or the Mormons field a presidential candidate, or if LSM opens training centers around the world? More empire-building. My impression, as one who was in it, is that it's all worldly: it's of the world, in the world, and for the world; it's empire-building. It's disguised in spiritual garb, but at its core it is Babylon redux. Towers that will fall. How high they climb before they fall is irrelevant. As Jimmy Cliff put it, "the harder they come, the harder they fall."

The Idumean (Edomite) usurper, Herod, slayer of Judeans, rebuilt the temple to its massive glory. "Master, look at all these giant stones piled up skillfully! How impressive!" As if that was what God was after.

Luke 21:5,6 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”


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What would really interest me is numbers. How many are members of the Local Church in the US, in Europe, in Africa, in Australasia as well as countries in the Far East. How does today's statistics compare with that of 1985?

Perhaps Nigel can provide some input on that.
Agreed. Tomes has time and interest enough to analyze web traffic. Why not simply look at LSM & Lord's Recovery numbers? Are they too untrustworthy? Or not forthcoming?
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Old 01-15-2015, 02:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

Try some searches (www.google.com/trends) on all kinds of other things--current Christian writers, past Christian writers, Christian publishing companies, historical figures, political leaders past and present, etc., and Tomes' statistics may no longer appear to be so significant.

Here a few tests I ran: Lee Strobel, Norman Geisler, A.W. Tozer, Zondervan, Harvest House, Kregel, English Standard Version, Doubleday, Penguin Books New York Times, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Booker T Washington, Calvin Coolidge, Tony Blair, Obama.

Others appear to be having the same problem...
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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What would really interest me is numbers. How many are members of the Local Church in the US, in Europe, in Africa, in Australasia as well as countries in the Far East. How does today's statistics compare with that of 1985?
This interests me as well. I HIGHLY suspect that non-Asian membership in North America is down significantly from the peak years (late 70s - late 80s?)
My understanding is that the FTTA (Anaheim) is heavily weighted towards non-American Asians. Of course this is NOT meant to be a slight towards all the dear young ones from Asia, only to say that the attraction/retention of young, native-born American kids seems to be trending downwards.

I might be wrong. If I am I'm sure our "Unregistered" friend will let us know!
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

I think Nigel’s analysis is very well written and makes a good point. It goes without saying that an analysis of search results is not going to be conclusive. His writing is more of something that can dispel the ideas set forth by the LSM and LC that they have exactly what Americans need. The LC has their “GTCA” website. The whole idea behind that is that somehow “The Recovery” is going to spread all across America, lots of LC’s will be raised up, people will be reading LSM books, etc. I think what Nigel’s writing does best is show that there is no increase in the popularity of WN or WL.


It’s easy for people to claim that this is some type of popularity contest between LCers and ex-LCers. I don’t think that’s the intention of Nigel’s writing at all. I believe the whole point of this is to show that if the LC’s and LSM want to be honest with themselves, they have to: 1) admit that they aren’t accomplishing their goals, and 2) admit that they can’t meet people’s needs in the present with the rapidly aging writings of WN and WL. Since I am in the LC, I know how much the notion is pushed that people are just waiting to be handed a RcV, or to be introduced to WN and WL. It is rather relieving to realize that, no you’re not a complete failure because you can’t get people interested in the LC or WN/WL.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by UntoHim View Post
This interests me as well. I HIGHLY suspect that non-Asian membership in North America is down significantly from the peak years (late 70s - late 80s?)
My understanding is that the FTTA (Anaheim) is heavily weighted towards non-American Asians. Of course this is NOT meant to be a slight towards all the dear young ones from Asia, only to say that the attraction/retention of young, native-born American kids seems to be trending downwards.

I might be wrong. If I am I'm sure our "Unregistered" friend will let us know!
I get this impression as well. I know they have said that they want more "average Americans". Obviously this isn't happening, and I think Nigel's writing shows that this won't be happening.

I always felt that the FTTA is the "glue" that holds the LC together. If it weren't for the FTTA, I think there would be a serious lack of younger saints. I think what the FTTA accomplishes is that it makes the graduates feel they owe a debt to the LC, and thus they have to stay and participate in the LC. Most who I've seen attend the FTTA recently were pushed to go, they weren't too keen on going. I think the real situation is clear, it is just something LC leadership needs to come to terms with.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:25 PM   #10
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I always felt that the FTTA is the "glue" that holds the LC together. If it weren't for the FTTA, I think there would be a serious lack of younger saints.
From the late 90's I felt the FTTA creates a caste system among the young people. If you're one with a view in mind to attend FTTA, you will receive much care and shepherding. If you don't have an ambition for FTTA, you don't feel wanted, needed, or cared for. By the time you're 19-21, if you go to a Sunday meeting it's out of tradition.
Problem is FTTA creates an environment where young people don't want to stick around if FTTA isn't a goal.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Originally Posted by Friedel View Post
I have ambivalent feelings about the interesting and wide-ranging statistics provided by Nigel Tomes, not that I question them; in fact, I would like to see it compared to other criteria, as well. I am just not convinced that they necessarily prove a decline in membership or interest in Nee, Lee and/or the Local Church. Fact is, current membership only consume and digest the sanitized fare of Nee/Lee, nothing else. Why would they then have a need to do internet searches?
Was Tomes suggesting a decline in LRC membership, or was he trying to identify trends in interest in the LRC -- primarily among those outside the group?

In other words, assuming that heavy recruiting on college campuses, or handing out lots of Recovery Version Bibles in Wal-Mart parking lots, would generate interest/curiosity, and spur people to go online to research.

Mr Tomes, care to clarify?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedel View Post
("Sanitized fare" means Paul Kerr's famous questions have been deleted as well as possibly the names and contributions of other "rebels". This is LSM's "spiritual" version of the paleo diet.)

For instance, I left fifteen years ago so I have no frame of reference to the turmoil of 2004–2006; I know very little about that but I assume that was the cutting off of Dong Yu Lan and Titus Chu.

I just believe you cannot confidently compare searches for Watchman Nee or Witness Lee with those of modern-day preachers who use the internet extensively to further their ministries and come to a conclusion whether the membership of the Local Church is shrinking or not; LSM does not use the internet extensively to promote the Local Churches. Sure, they maintain an internet presence but that is mainly as a library reference.
LSM has attempted to flood the internet with positive websites to make it less likely for potential new recruits to become "poisoned" by other sources. This has been their policy for roughly 15 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedel View Post
And the Local Church has changed: it has become more structured than fifteen or twenty years ago. It now has several permanent full-time training centers globally so the lecturers travel from Anaheim or wherever to the different training centers. They spend two weeks completing their own curriculum before leaving again. They do this every semester. I suppose many of the trainees have never even been to La Palma in Anaheim or Taipei but they would possibly be more familiar with London, Hamilton or Pretoria.

We could actually describe it as a decentralization of staff and assets. This could possibly be classified as effective measures, yet not reflect in statistics.
This may be true. I think for many overseas trainees, making a trip to Anaheim for a biannual training is considered as a kind of pilgrimage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Friedel View Post
What would really interest me is numbers. How many are members of the Local Church in the US, in Europe, in Africa, in Australasia as well as countries in the Far East. How does today's statistics compare with that of 1985?

Perhaps Nigel can provide some input on that.
I would interested in that too. How to get (accurate) numbers?
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:53 AM   #12
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I get this impression as well. I know they have said that they want more "average Americans". Obviously this isn't happening, and I think Nigel's writing shows that this won't be happening.
A brother once tried to explain to me how when Lee referred to "Caucasians," he really meant "native-born Americans" (i.e., when he talked about the need to recruit Caucasians). In other words, he did not actually intend to exclude other groups, for example, African-Americans. I wondered, if that's the case, why did he insist on using this word, "Caucasians"?

Quote:
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I always felt that the FTTA is the "glue" that holds the LC together. If it weren't for the FTTA, I think there would be a serious lack of younger saints. I think what the FTTA accomplishes is that it makes the graduates feel they owe a debt to the LC, and thus they have to stay and participate in the LC. Most who I've seen attend the FTTA recently were pushed to go, they weren't too keen on going. I think the real situation is clear, it is just something LC leadership needs to come to terms with.
I remember a study session on Ball Rd, during a biannual training, with a few hundred young people present. One of the training brothers (Dan Towle, perhaps? -- I'm not sure) addressing the full-time training graduates in the room. He was asking questions like, why would you not go full-time (as a serving one) if you graduated from the FTTA?

He also talked about those who had met their husband or wife at the FTTA, as if they owed something. He said something along the lines of, Haven't we found you the best spouse? Can't recall just how he said it. But it seemed pretty brazen, even at the time. And he was going on about it with such an air of significance...
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

It is interesting to note the trending in hits on certain search criteria. Internet usage in general has gone up over the years. And there has been an increase in information available on the internet on various subjects. So the idea that almost anything was trending up until 2004 is not necessarily a significant thing.

One of the "un-telling" things for me is the lack of actual numbers. I see a graph with a series of peaks and valleys, and an overall trend. The only place that I have any kind of evidence of at least relative numbers is when they juxtapose Lee's graph against Tim Keller. While significantly different, does it tell of a huge difference that is relative to the size of its following compared to Keller? Hard to say.

So what do trends mean?

In the early days, lots of trends were up because more and more people were busy trying to find sites and information that they had never looked to the internet for before. As they find steady sources of information, they bookmark them, never to make that particular search again — unless they decide to look for additional or alternative source. So peaking in 2004 might not be a completely unexpected thing.

News. How many hits do you think there were on the Ebola virus a year ago? Six months ago? A year from now? I expect that those three graph points will show an increase followed by a decrease. Go to many search engines, especially their "front-ends" that accumulate news of various general categories and you will find references to what is trending today. When I bother to look at the list at all, I am sometimes surprised to find a person's name that I would not expect, such as an actor that has not been in anything for some time and has not been outspoken on politics, the environment, etc. I take a look and sure enough, someone tried to break into their house, so there is some current news about them. Or they are marrying or divorcing.

What news could have people looking into Witness Lee or Watchman Nee back around 2004? Harvest House? And while this might be more internal, what about the controversies surrounding the ouster of Titus Chu? I know it wasn't in 2004. But it could have been at least part of the reason for some of the lesser peaks.

What about new items? Was Tim Keller a big name prior to 2008 when he wrote his first significant book? He had been the pastor of a major Presbyterian church in NYC for many years, but was he known outside of that much prior to his book? Mean time, how do you think hits on Elvis has gone in recent years? Probably a roller coaster since he died many years before the internet was generally accessible.

And to the extent that it was heavily searches by the insiders, what if the warnings to avoid the internet were beginning to have effect? They taper off based on the advice that you can only be poisoned by the internet (except for the LSM sites which should already be bookmarked).

And while there are surely many other possibilities, there is also the practice (that I forget the name for) of searching for something over and over and selecting the "correct" site(s) so that they will rise to the top of searches. And while that could be a difficult task for something with millions of searches a month, it would probably be easy for swaying the outcome of hits on searches for Lee, Nee, and the LSM if you were wanting to do that. And I'm sure that they do.

The thing to me is that the data, whether huge in volume, or small, is insufficiently tied to anything to provide a meaning in terms of importance. Any of those I mention could be responsible for the overall trends, or even just some of the small ups and downs. But it is difficult to say much at all when the numbers appear so small. And with the tendency for groups to make the URL for their web site available — in emails, bulletins, etc. — there is often a diminishing need for people to seek the site for the things they will commonly go to. I mean, I might end out seeking for a particular store's website near Christmas or a birthday and not maintain it in my favorites. But I am also just about as likely to just guess and type in www.bestbuy.com, and even if that is not the actual name, it will probably redirect me to it. Only if I can't find it will I go searching. I am more likely to be searching for the chords and lyrics to a song than for another religious website. I have existing favorites and they link to others. (And some of them even link to sites that are very different — even somewhat adverse — so I find that I am typically getting a lot of perspective without doing Google or Yahoo searches.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Originally Posted by rayliotta View Post
I remember a study session on Ball Rd, during a biannual training, with a few hundred young people present. One of the training brothers (Dan Towle, perhaps? -- I'm not sure) addressing the full-time training graduates in the room. He was asking questions like, why would you not go full-time (as a serving one) if you graduated from the FTTA?

He also talked about those who had met their husband or wife at the FTTA, as if they owed something. He said something along the lines of, Haven't we found you the best spouse? Can't recall just how he said it. But it seemed pretty brazen, even at the time. And he was going on about it with such an air of significance...
Based on the account of poster MichaelK from the Bereans forum I recall, it was Dan Towle who arranged which brother worked with which sister. A type of matchmaking.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:22 AM   #15
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Default Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

I became intrigued by the Google Trends analysis performed by Nigel Tomes on Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. Concerning this trend Dr. Tomes declares "A downward trend in this ‘first response’—Google searches on these key words--suggests a declining interest in LSM’s ‘Recovery.’

Since Dr. Tomes wrote so many articles slamming Witness Lee during this same period I became interested in understanding if there was a contra-trend, something to indicate a rise in interest of Tomes' many writings. Here are the results (Click on the image to enlarge it and see the astounding results):

Click image for larger version

Name:	Tomes Search.jpg
Views:	211
Size:	16.5 KB
ID:	140


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M7oBAAgnNEJAEA4oxMAgHBGJwAA4YxOAADCGZ0AAIQzOgEACGd 0AgAQzugEACDcN3p0SpIkSQ+T0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSFZ3RKkiQpP KNTkiRJ4RmdkiRJCs/olCRJUnhGpyRJksIzOiVJkhSe0SlJkqTwjE5JkiSF9x/Wdt0oFfRjFgAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==[/IMG]From the above Google Trends search on Nigel Tomes we can infer:

1) A downward trend in this ‘first response’—Google searches on these key words--suggests a declining interest in... no wait, there is no declining trend...... forget that.. ummm

2) Declining numbers of Google searches on these key terms suggest an underlying decline in interest, which will probably translate into... wait... hold that one too.... there is no declining interest because there is not enough interest to register.... let's move on....

3) Nigel Tomes regularly “wraps himself in an anti-Witness Lee mantle” and appeals to his disassociation with him. Dr. Tomes has consistently sought to leverage the unpopularity of Witness Lee with the disaffected to generate interest in his own teachings and publications. Dr. Tomes ought to be concerned about indications of declining interest in his writings... oops! ... I see.... not enough interest to plot anything.

oh well .. I guess you can't really decline from zero...

Observations:
I guess Google Trend is not Nigel Tomes friend either... after all those dissertations and online postings attacking Witness Lee we can't even see a spike as is seen with Titus Chu in 2006. Nothing, nada, nunca, nyet,.... no contra-trend showing a rise in interest... not even a flat line... not a whimper.... not a blip.. nor a sliver....not even a speck..... a total non-starter (using and comparing with Dr. Tomes own methodology of course).
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:07 AM   #16
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>Dr. Tomes has consistently sought to leverage the unpopularity of Witness Lee with the disaffected to generate interest in his own teachings and publications.

So you think Lee is only unpopular with "the disaffected?" What planet have you been living on? What rock did you just crawl out from underneath? The only reason why anybody knows anything about the man is from disaffected people letting the cat out of the bag. Oh and let's not forget all the Christian groups and ministries he has tried to sue the pants off of, they know all about Lee and Company too!

The Local Church has spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the so call ministry of the age and they hardly make a blip on the radar. When you google Witness Lee most of the sites that pop up are PAID ADVERTISING from The Local Church/Living Stream Ministry or one of their front organizations which are no more than some website run from the computer of some Local Churcher sitting behind a desk over at the mother ship on La Palma in Anaheim!

I doubt Tomes gives a rip about anybody googling his name, and even if he does so what? He's not claiming to be the only person speaking as God's oracle on earth, is he?
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

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Originally Posted by Cassidy View Post

Observations:
I guess Google Trend is not Nigel Tomes friend either... after all those dissertations and online postings attacking Witness Lee we can't even see a spike as is seen with Titus Chu in 2006. Nothing, nada, nunca, nyet,.... no contra-trend showing a rise in interest... not even a flat line... not a whimper.... not a blip.. nor a sliver....not even a speck..... a total non-starter (using and comparing with Dr. Tomes own methodology of course).
Who says that he is trying to get his name out there? My impression is that Nigel's writings were meant to help those who have left or are considering leaving the LC. Thus, his writings serve a fairly small group of individuals.

What if this all was reversed and Google Trends showed an upward trend in the popularity of WN/WL? Would anyone be surprised if LSM started making a big deal about it?
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Old 01-17-2015, 09:34 AM   #18
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

Cliffhanger> So you think Lee is only unpopular with "the disaffected?"

Not at all.


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Old 01-17-2015, 09:38 AM   #19
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Default Re: Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

Freedom> My impression is that Nigel's writings were meant to help those who have left or are considering leaving the LC. Thus, his writings serve a fairly small group of individuals.

I agree.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:45 AM   #20
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The Local Church has spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the so call ministry of the age and they hardly make a blip on the radar. When you google Witness Lee most of the sites that pop up are PAID ADVERTISING from The Local Church/Living Stream Ministry or one of their front organizations which are no more than some website run from the computer of some Local Churcher sitting behind a desk over at the mother ship on La Palma in Anaheim!

I doubt Tomes gives a rip about anybody googling his name, and even if he does so what? He's not claiming to be the only person speaking as God's oracle on earth, is he?
I think you make a good point. I don't think that Nigel or anyone else assume that they can conclusively interpret Google Trends results, I think the point is that in spite of all LSM is doing to popularize WN/WL, it isn't working like they say.

People who are doing searches for the terms "Witness Lee" or "Watchman Nee" are more than likely to not be affiliated with the LC. OBW made the point, which I agree with, that LC members are more likely to be clicking links rather than searching for specific terms. I am of the position that the statistics which are most important to the LSM regarding the popularity of WN/WL are those that give insight into the general public interest in WN and WL.

I think that someone could argue that there is of a lack of interest in WN/WL from different standpoints besides Google Trends. A decreasing popularity is much harder to prove. Out of curiosity, I did a quick comparison on Amazon's rankings of WN and WL books. For example, on Amazon, WN's classic work The Normal Christian Life (non-LSM edition) is ranked as at #9,339 in books. By comparison C.S Lewis' classic Mere Chrisitianity is rated at #431. A WL classic The Economy of God is ranked at a lowly #366,449 in books. So these kinds of statistics can be found elsewhere. Of course, these numbers are by no means conclusive, and they are just overall sales, not over any specific period of time.

The point I'm trying to make is that in regards to the ideas that LSM pushes of the Recovery "spreading" all over the U.S., it isn't happening. I've heard the notion put forth that Christians are just out their waiting to be told of WN or WL and once they start reading them, all their needs will be met. Obviously WN and WL books are now widely available, and people can easily purchase them. The reality is that people are choosing to purchase other books. I browsed all the top sellers in the Christian book section and most of what I see are books by contemporary authors. That comes as no surprise to me. It shouldn't surprise anyone else either. One of Nigel's points was that WN/WL works are rapidly aging with respect to Christianity in modern America. I suppose there will always be people who read and appreciate their works, but the notion that Christians are suddenly going to go back in time 50-100 years and become WN/WL fanatics is silly. That is the kind of propaganda LSM pushes though.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:00 PM   #21
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

Freedom> I don't think that Nigel or anyone else assume that they can conclusively interpret Google Trends results,

I find little disagreement with the logic of your argument with the notable exception of the above statement. In fact, Dr. Tomes' whole presentation pivots on the results of Google Trends.... and there are so many ridiculous fallacies in his presentation and conclusions that I do not know where to start other than where I did.... that is, if one wishes to use Google Trends as the barometer of interest or disinterest then its strongest proponent --- Dr. Tomes --- , in spite of dozens of articles, is way underwater.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:11 PM   #22
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Default Re: Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassidy View Post

Observations:
I guess Google Trend is not Nigel Tomes friend either... after all those dissertations and online postings attacking Witness Lee we can't even see a spike as is seen with Titus Chu in 2006. Nothing, nada, nunca, nyet,.... no contra-trend showing a rise in interest... not even a flat line... not a whimper.... not a blip.. nor a sliver....not even a speck..... a total non-starter (using and comparing with Dr. Tomes own methodology of course).
Old Friend,

As interest in Lee wanes naturally interest in what anyone else has to say about him will wane, too. (Which doesn't bode well for us here, BTW. )

However, in the highly unlikely event that interest in Lee took off, interest in Tomes would, too. But it doesn't make sense that interest in Tomes would rise as people are leaving Lee like a 1950s-style suit. He must decrease so Tomes will decrease as well, until Tomes starts writing about something else, of course.

No one googles Tomes, they google Lee. So the decline in Tomes is actually reflective of the decline in Lee. Which makes Tomes' point.
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Old 01-17-2015, 12:31 PM   #23
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Freedom> I don't think that Nigel or anyone else assume that they can conclusively interpret Google Trends results,

I find little disagreement with the logic of your argument with the exception of the above. In fact, Dr. Tomes' whole presentation pivots on the results of Google Trends.... and there are so many ridiculous fallacies in his presentation and conclusions that I do not know where to start other than where I did.
I think he's just trying to present meaningful statistics in the context of the LC. Given that the data is out there, it is bound that someone will come along sooner or later and try to interpret it.

I think everyone would basically agree that the same data could not be used to prove a increase in popularity in WN or WL. So if Nigel's interpretation is wrong, then that points towards the data being inconclusive. Now that I have seen the data that Nigel presented, I am not content with just dismissing it as being inconclusive. Nigel is not the only one out there trying to make use of this kind of data. I am willing to accept Nigel's interpretation until someone comes along with a better one.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:01 PM   #24
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Igzy>So the decline in Tomes is actually reflective of the decline in Lee. Which makes Tomes' point.

Hi Igzy,

Good to see you.

If Tomes had a decline trend, a flat trend, or a rising trend for that same period we could debate the correlation. In Tomes' case there is no trend to debate.... only a blank. Using Tome's methodology with his own Google Trend stats one could argue that there is not a decline in interest in Tome's material but no interest at all... were we to adopt the same credence and logic that Tomes uses against Witness Lee.

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Old 01-17-2015, 03:49 PM   #25
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

Freedom>I am willing to accept Nigel's interpretation until someone comes along with a better one.

And you are entitled to that.

However, that benefit of the doubt is part of the fallacy that shores up the problem with Dr. Tomes' presentation. Here is what I mean;

Tomes is a Phd and no doubt he worked hard for it and earned it by the sweat of his brow... and the discipline required to complete one's dissertation is extensive and comes under critical review. Nothing is taken for granted, no benefit of the doubt is given, and a compelling presentation must cover all the bases and assumptions. Unfortunately, Dr Tomes' does not apply the same rigor in his attack writings on Witness Lee as one would expect from a man of his training.

For instance, Dr. Tomes assumes that there are no variables to the Google search engine trends that could be factors against his argument. Over the last decade Google search engine growth rate has declined, there have been new entrants to the search engine market, and geopolitical factors have blocked Google in huge growth markets such as China. He offers no explanation for these variables and their potential impact to the Google Trend he relied on.

Again, he asks the reader to join him in a leap of faith that the Google search engine is the mechanism whereby existing and new members will seek links to relevant LSM content. Apparently, Tomes misses the fact that links to the online web sites that have the writings of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee are already provided to members verbally or in print so that members, existing or new, do not need Google or any other search engine to find the material.

Furthermore, one could make a strong case that since most of the new members will bypass the search engines because they have direct links, then the ones left who are searching for information are, for the most part, not members of the local church and if that assumption is taken into account then the decline trend Tomes references is not disinterest from existing members or new members but disinterest from non-members who wanted to find out something about Lee & Nee..... people who might be trying to find a site like this one for instance. That would suggest the trend decline is an indicator of something quite different from what Tomes states.

But then Freedom, would you give that last scenario the benefit of the doubt? I think not because it is human to relegate to the less credible position the argument and the evidence that does not align with preconceived ideas and beliefs. Even though Tomes has presented but one dubious piece of evidence and does not address the numerous others variables he will, nonetheless, get a free pass with most in his preferred audience. With those who regard him he is considered as one of the initiated so what he says must be given the benefit of the doubt even if his argument lacks tangible facts to back it up. He provides a ton of reference and it gives the impression that his opinion is more than that. I think that is problem.. a very big and dangerous one actually.

I'll close with this: Google trends show a similar decline for the last decade for the Baptist denomination and also for Protestantism. Perhaps there is a bigger decline of interest in fundamental churches... or perhaps Google Trends does not provide enough information to infer anything at all. I think that is the case... it is just data and without a lot of other correlating data it remains just that. I hope so because the Google Trends also show rising interest for Zombies and the Underground Alien Base at Dulce!
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:01 PM   #26
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Default Re: Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

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Igzy>So the decline in Tomes is actually reflective of the decline in Lee. Which makes Tomes' point.

Hi Igzy,

Good to see you.

If Tomes had a decline trend, a flat trend, or a rising trend for that same period we could debate the correlation. In Tomes' case there is no trend to debate.... only a blank. Using Tome's methodology with his own Google Trend stats one could argue that there is not a decline in interest in Tome's material but no interest at all... were we to adopt the same credence and logic that Tomes uses against Witness Lee.

Greetings Cassidy, I was pleasantly surprised to "see" you here again.

Your Google Trends spoof is cute. Mr Tomes might get a good chuckle out of it (that is, if he comes around here to see our discussions).

But as others have already pointed out, and as you well know, there is a well-established (albeit small) organization called the Lord's Recovery, aka the local churches, which actively recruits and promotes itself as an organization. As soon as you start seeing tables set up for "Tomes Christian Students" or "Tomes for the Age Campus Club" -- whether at Harvard or at Cal State-Fullerton -- then the comparison may hold some water.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:13 PM   #27
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Default Re: Signs of a Non-Starter in the Polemic Writings of Nigel Tomes

Hi Ray,

Thanks, good to see you. There was some levity built in. If Nigel ever comes by I hope he takes it that way.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:39 PM   #28
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

A BRIEF REPORT CONCERNING THE LORD’S MOVE IN EUROPE, DECEMBER, 2014

Increase in Europe

In the past fifteen years, the Lord has gained a significant increase throughout Europe:
In 2000, there were 32 lampstands in 12 countries. There were approximately 750 saints in
the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe. Now in 2014, there are 85 lampstands in 23 countries. There are now approximately 3,000 saints in the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:14 PM   #29
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Furthermore, one could make a strong case that since most of the new members will bypass the search engines because they have direct links, then the ones left who are searching for information are, for the most part, not members of the local church and if that assumption is taken into account then the decline trend Tomes references is not disinterest from existing members or new members but disinterest from non-members who wanted to find out something about Lee & Nee..... people who might be trying to find a site like this one for instance. That would suggest the trend decline is an indicator of something quite different from what Tomes states.

But then Freedom, would you give that last scenario the benefit of the doubt? I think not because it is human to relegate to the less credible position the argument and the evidence that does not align with preconceived ideas and beliefs. Even though Tomes has presented but one dubious piece of evidence and does not address the numerous others variables he will, nonetheless, get a free pass with most in his preferred audience. With those who regard him he is considered as one of the initiated so what he says must be given the benefit of the doubt even if his argument lacks tangible facts to back it up. He provides a ton of reference and it gives the impression that his opinion is more than that. I think that is problem.. a very big and dangerous one actually.
The idea that people are more frequently using direct links is worth considering and I haven't discarded that possibility. I don't think it's really possible to get that kind of information. Only LSM knows how many people visit their sites overall. Something to consider though is that a site can either be visited by entering a URL directly (amazon.com), or using a search engine to find a URL. If I misspell the URL and enter "amzon.com", on my computer, that automatically performs a google search for "amzon.com", which would bring up the real link. Even if people are being provided LSM URLs, there is a good chance that they can still be searching for the URL, say if they forget the exact URL. On Facebook, I see lots of people posting LSM URLs, so that is definitely one way people will end up using just links. If an link is announced in a meeting (such as equip.org for the CRI), how many people are going to write down the URL and enter it directly? I bet you plenty will forget the URL and just google "CRI".

To address the second part of what you said, I don't think that anyone here (including myself) agrees with everything Nigel writes. His writings have value because he is one of the only ones consistently attempting to critique LSM at a scholarly level. This is something that needs to be done. Outsiders can do the same thing, however, they don't understand the inner workings of the LC. So maybe Nigel gets more of a "free pass" than he should. I don't think that's such a big deal, however, because can come here and critique what he has written. Don't worry, I'm sure DCP reads everything he writes, whether or not they have a response.

One thing that's important to realize is that in relation to the LC, there is no such thing as getting "all the facts". Do you think if I were to write an email to LSM asking for statistics of visits to their websites that I would get any kind of response? I'm sure Nigel would love to have access to such numbers. Since that kind of information isn't available, conclusions have to be drawn from the information at hand. People such as myself who are on the fridges are happy to know something rather than nothing.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cassidy View Post
I think that is problem.. a very big and dangerous one actually.
This coming from someone who believes that brother Lee is the only person who has been speaking as God's oracle since 1945. Nothing very dangerous about that! Let's give Nigel Tomes some room, after all he was under this kind of myth for many years and he is just trying to work his way through all the Local Church myths. Give him a break, he's the only regional leader/elder who has had the intestinal fortitude to come on the internet and post what God has been revealing to him since leaving "the recovery". Don't worry, eventually he'll get there. In the meantime he is probably busting a cut watching people like this guy come out and try to defend the defenseless.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:33 PM   #31
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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This coming from someone who believes that brother Lee is the only person who has been speaking as God's oracle since 1945. Nothing very dangerous about that! Let's give Nigel Tomes some room, after all he was under this kind of myth for many years and he is just trying to work his way through all the Local Church myths. Give him a break, he's the only regional leader/elder who has had the intestinal fortitude to come on the internet and post what God has been revealing to him since leaving "the recovery". Don't worry, eventually he'll get there. In the meantime he is probably busting a cut watching people like this guy come out and try to defend the defenseless.
Fortunately Tomes is not the only one. There's also John Myer. According to his website, there is a "Southern California Care Group [that] has been established for the encouragement and support of departing Local Church Members in that area."
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:37 PM   #32
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Hi Ray,

Thanks, good to see you. There was some levity built in. If Nigel ever comes by I hope he takes it that way.
I think it could be great for everyone here if NT ever swings by. I would think the same thing about others such as Max Rapoport and John Ingalls.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:13 AM   #33
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From the late 90's I felt the FTTA creates a caste system among the young people. If you're one with a view in mind to attend FTTA, you will receive much care and shepherding. If you don't have an ambition for FTTA, you don't feel wanted, needed, or cared for. By the time you're 19-21, if you go to a Sunday meeting it's out of tradition.
Problem is FTTA creates an environment where young people don't want to stick around if FTTA isn't a goal.
This is quite an indictment but it proves the Local Church of the 20th century is a whole lot different from the one of the present day.

The former Local Church had a charismatic King Pin who could bully everyone into submission with the assistance of his uncharismatic Under Pins. When the King Pin eventually perished the organization was left with no charismatic Under Pin. So they kind of “blended” to attempt to be THE new King Pin. How they purportedly achieved that is one of the mysteries of the age. Naturally, that failed and so they had to strategize and rebuild their faltering organization. It is known as Local Church Holism.

Dong Yu Lan was the King Pin for South America and elsewhere and after the death of the main King Pin he became a serious contender for the Throne of Pin. So, they cut him off at the knees but that did not stop him. Dong's Pin Empire today is all over. Perhaps he is now THE King Pin of the “Recovery” in the world today. I believe Titus was a King Pin Lite in his region but they also cut him off.

Bill Freeman could have been some sort of King Pin Lite in the Northwest. His messages were broadcast on several radio stations in that area, even in Africa. But the King Pin and his Under Pins did not like it so they ostracized him. (Bill Freeman said that because not even one station was interested in messages by Witness Lee, but liked his, he just had to carry on.) Bill was sidelined, traveled a bit and ended with a much smaller empire. Was he not the most charismatic and eloquent of all Under Pins?

I suspect there had to be other charismatic Under Pins before who could have built their own organizations and would have built up a following but they were eliminated along the way. Amongst the present crop of Thoroughly Blended Under Pins no one stands out (probably because they are only good at regurgitating) and they have lost their identities (or so they claim).

The above description is (only one of many) for the Local Church of the 20th Century but the modern Local Church is totally different: it seems they are in Regurgitation Boot Camp 365/24/7. There can be no joy and no life because it is all pretend.

That is the big difference between the Local Church many of us knew twenty five or more years ago and the one of today. Outwardly it looks the same but they are more and more becoming like the Exclusive Brethren, in content and in practice.

Who knows, there might even come a time when they will lock the gates to shut out “foreigners’ from the Lord’s Table or have it at 6:00 AM when most people are slowly waking up.

Inevitably, they are only one step away from their Rubicon.


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Old 01-18-2015, 06:56 AM   #34
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Cliffhanger> Let's give Nigel Tomes some room, after all he was under this kind of myth for many years and he is just trying to work his way through all the Local Church myths.

Cliffhanger,

Nigel Tomes is entitled to his view as we all are. Furthermore, if he his groping his way to clarity and is expressing that in his writings then the reader can factor that in as they read them.

However, I will continue to challenge his arguments, the validity of his assumptions, and the conclusions he draws. After this amount of time he has now become a teacher of sorts and therefore his public teachings should be examined. In another thread he has discarded respected Greek scholars in favor of modern ones..... he embraces a scholar (Barr) who challenges the inerrancy of the Bible for instance... and here in this thread he has used an internet search engine trend to draw conclusions about membership in the local churches.. we can call it the "Google Trend Fallacy" and add it to the lexicon of argumentation fallacies (you heard it here first). He has room to sort matters out privately but once he takes to the airwaves and instructs others then his ideas become a matter for public discourse.

Nigel Tomes' writings need to be examined.... not only to test them for the readers sake but for the sake of Nigel Tomes' own understanding... assuming he ever takes the time to read a counterpoint.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:37 AM   #35
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Igzy>So the decline in Tomes is actually reflective of the decline in Lee. Which makes Tomes' point.

Hi Igzy,

Good to see you.

If Tomes had a decline trend, a flat trend, or a rising trend for that same period we could debate the correlation. In Tomes' case there is no trend to debate.... only a blank. Using Tome's methodology with his own Google Trend stats one could argue that there is not a decline in interest in Tome's material but no interest at all... were we to adopt the same credence and logic that Tomes uses against Witness Lee.

Well, you have a point. But that doesn't help LSM's problem of declining interest in Lee at all, does it? I mean, saying "you're one too" might make you feel better, but does nothing more.

Lee was stuck in a time warp when he was at the peak of his ministry, and he only attracted people who were content to live in a time warp. Now he's a relic of the past. (It will happen to us all.) There might be occasional interest, but there is never going to be a huge revival based on the ministry of a long gone teacher who is so controversial. It's just not going to happen. It's never happened in history. And it would be foolish to wait for it. People want a fresh personality to follow, not a mysterious, shadowy figure from the past.

The only thing that could happen is if some dynamic teacher takes the best of Lee's stuff and breathes fresh life into it to produce something that is compelling and attractive to a current generation. But the LC movement has painted itself into a corner on that by restricting themselves to just parroting Lee. They are victims of their veneration of Lee. Justice, it seems.

Ironically, if you look at the community church movement, it does reflect some of Lee's basic teachings now--intimate relationship with God, experience of the Spirit, unity, generality, service, reward--not that it got them directly from Lee. But the Body works. It's retains the things that are healthy, and ignores the other stuff. God is quite capable of accomplishing what he wants without the micromanagenebt of a party of self-assumed leaders of the "recovery." And in fact they couldn't accomplish it in the first place. God doesn't work that way.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:52 AM   #36
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Igzy>Well, you have a point. But that doesn't help LSM's problem of declining interest in Lee at all, does it?

What decline? Post 28 from Unregistered shows a 4X increase over a 14 year period in membership in Europe. Even if those direct stats are ignored (there is no reason to ignore it but some people will anyway) it does not change my challenge to Tome's use of an internet search engine to draw his conclusion about interest/disinterest or membership in the local churches..... Google Trend is a single data point.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:49 AM   #37
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A BRIEF REPORT CONCERNING THE LORD’S MOVE IN EUROPE, DECEMBER, 2014

Increase in Europe

In the past fifteen years, the Lord has gained a significant increase throughout Europe:
In 2000, there were 32 lampstands in 12 countries. There were approximately 750 saints in
the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe. Now in 2014, there are 85 lampstands in 23 countries. There are now approximately 3,000 saints in the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe.
I do not know whether this account is copied and supplied by the unnamed poster, or is supplied from their personal knowledge from the inside. But I will take on the wording of the post with no intent beyond that.

Lampstands. Since the one-to-one correspondence for this term is not clear, I will approach it in two ways.

If Lampstand is intended to refer to the fact of an expression of the church in a particular city, then there is likely no increase since the number of cities in Europe in which there is no meeting of Christians is near to zero. It is quite possible that there are some small hamlets where those who are Christians meet with others in a nearby village of somewhat larger size, but those would be the exceptions. Even in the very dwindling Christian landscape of Europe, there are Christians everywhere, though not in the kinds of relative numbers found in the US.

If lampstands is intended to make reference to assemblies, then surely there are some more lampstands if the LRC has increased. But they are but a drop in the bucket compared to all the available lampstands in the areas, even with the same city in every case.

Last, if lampstand is intended to refer only to meetings of the LRC, then I will respond with a story (a true story). Several years ago when I was still keeping up with my facebook fairly regularly, I noted a post that was repeated by someone I was (and probably still am) connected to (can't remember who) that said something like "this weekend the Lord's table was resumed in Rome for the first time in centuries." (Since this was at least four years ago, I cannot remember the wording, just the thrust of what it said.) While I know that contrary posts are generally frowned upon, I could not let such a false report go unchallenged. So I responded with something like "the Lord's table has never ceased to be taken in Rome since it occurred in the first century" or something to that effect.

But no matter which of those was intended, or would be argued as correct by the source of the report, it is clear that the LRC claims the right to cloak their assemblies with the nomenclature of "lampstand" and to exclude all others from it. If they aren't there, then there is no lampstand. If they are there, then there is a lampstand. And if they move away, the lampstand goes with them.

But it is not so in the NT, especially in the one place the term is used — Revelation. The lampstand is there in the city that was declared to have lost its first love. It was there where that woman, Jezebel, taught despicable things. It was there where everyone was lukewarm.

The lampstand is everywhere that there are people shining as the image of God in their lives among the darkness that is the world. The LRC's interest is not its testimony to the world. Only to the principalities and powers. And they don't even know how little that testimony means when their lack of shining to the living humans demonstrates that they are not having any impact on the world. At least not as a single group.

Saints. I would take on the terms "saints," but they did at least note that they were referring to saints "in the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe." It does not mean they think of others as saints, but it hides where the truth is.

Lord's recovery. Not much to say here other than the fact that the Bible defines no such thing. The only recovery mentioned (though without the use of the word) is the recovery of human souls from death to life. The Lord's recovery is a designator for the sect of people who follow the ideologies of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, declare that the only true church is the one that stands "on the ground of locality," accept that they are becoming God in life and nature, but not Godhead, and believe that the trinity, though true, and therefore three, is irrelevant because they are "simply" one. And if they do not agree to excommunicate Titus Chu and others who did not follow the unscriptural decrees, such as the Phoenix Accord, they are themselves cut off.

And then the legal team goes to work to "recover" the name (that they don't have) from the excommunicated group so that they can declare another lampstand in that city and call themselves by the "proper" no-name name. Oh, and try to sue for the property of the local assembly (the assembly that was at least once local in administration) by claiming more than local administration.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:58 AM   #38
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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A BRIEF REPORT CONCERNING THE LORD’S MOVE IN EUROPE, DECEMBER, 2014

Increase in Europe

In the past fifteen years, the Lord has gained a significant increase throughout Europe:
In 2000, there were 32 lampstands in 12 countries. There were approximately 750 saints in
the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe. Now in 2014, there are 85 lampstands in 23 countries. There are now approximately 3,000 saints in the Lord’s recovery throughout Europe.
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Igzy>Well, you have a point. But that doesn't help LSM's problem of declining interest in Lee at all, does it?

What decline? Post 28 from Unregistered shows a 4X increase over a 14 year period in membership in Europe. Even if those direct stats are ignored (there is no reason to ignore it but some people will anyway) it does not change my challenge to Tome's use of an internet search engine to draw his conclusion about interest/disinterest or membership in the local churches..... Google Trend is a single data point.
Those numbers do represent an increase in LC membership, however, some questions come to mind (none of which I have a good answer for):

1) What about the massive disassociation of LC's in Europe from LSM in the late 80's? How many members were there in Europe before that happened, how many after?


2) How do these numbers compare to LC membership in America during that same time period?

The reason I think those questions are important is firstly because 750 is a rather small number. 3000 is still a small number. There are mega churches that have membership numbers that will blow those numbers out of the water. And those numbers are for all of Europe. If the pre-split membership was anything close to the current 3000, then no, that's not an increase, it's just making up for all they lost.

Secondly, if a single congregation were to increase membership from 750 to 3000 over 15 years, that would be impressive. When considering that increase happened all over Europe (current population of 742 million), it's hardly worth mentioning. Yes, those numbers represent an increase, but in the larger scheme of things it's not significant to anyone besides LSM.

Lastly, if you were to compare those numbers against membership change in the U.S., or any other country for that matter, I think you would find a big variance in the trends. What is happening in Europe is not necessarily indicative of what's happening in the U.S.
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:00 AM   #39
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Igzy>Well, you have a point. But that doesn't help LSM's problem of declining interest in Lee at all, does it?

What decline? Post 28 from Unregistered shows a 4X increase over a 14 year period in membership in Europe. Even if those direct stats are ignored (there is no reason to ignore it but some people will anyway) it does not change my challenge to Tome's use of an internet search engine to draw his conclusion about interest/disinterest or membership in the local churches..... Google Trend is a single data point.
You fail to note that a 4x increase is a relatively insignificant thing when the starting point is near zero. In all of Europe, to have only amassed 3,000 in 85 cities during a period in which much of Europe was only shortly before closed to any such attempts at religious contact is not significant. It is a little like counting the effects of taking a potato-bag full of crushed lava from Hawaii and scattering it over a major portion of the Sahara. The numbers of grains of lava-sand are greatly up, but hardly noticed. Meanwhile, the number of churches in those same parts of Europe have increased like the number of participants in the LRC. And they do not pretend to be the only churches around, or that there was no church, or Lord's table until their group was there.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:24 AM   #40
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Freedom> if a single congregation were to increase membership from 750 to 3000 over 15 years, that would be impressive.

The debate is not about the size of the local churches compared to the population of Europe... it is about the membership growth rate referred to by Dr. Tomes. This data point showing a fourfold increase in membership in at least one geography (Europe) refutes Dr. Tomes' Google Trend declaration of declining interest and the negative impact upon membership for roughly the same period of time. His declaration would have been validated if the 750 members in 2000 had dropped to something less in 2014.

Also, the starting point for Dr. Tomes declining interest study begins in 2004, so membership prior to that is not applicable to the comparison. Dr. Tomes set the parameters for the claims he made based on the trends from 2004 to 2014.

That's all really. It is not to say that this data point is the only data point required to establish the actual growth rate ... it just shows that Dr. Tomes' claims are unsubstantiated by other data points.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:33 AM   #41
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Lord's recovery. ...The Lord's recovery is a designator for the sect of people who follow the ideologies of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, declare that the only true church is the one that stands "on the ground of locality," accept that they are becoming God in life and nature, but not Godhead, and believe that the trinity, though true, and therefore three, is irrelevant because they are "simply" one. And if they do not agree to excommunicate Titus Chu and others who did not follow the unscriptural decrees, such as the Phoenix Accord, they are themselves cut off.

And then the legal team goes to work to "recover" the name (that they don't have) from the excommunicated group so that they can declare another lampstand in that city and call themselves by the "proper" no-name name. Oh, and try to sue for the property of the local assembly (the assembly that was at least once local in administration) by claiming more than local administration.
Ouch, now THAT's gonna leave a mark...!
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:07 PM   #42
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OBW>You fail to note that a 4x increase is a relatively insignificant thing when the starting point is near zero.

750 is a small number... and so is 3000 compared to the larger context. The discussion is about growth rate not percentage against the whole.

Still, quadrupling membership (adding a net 2250 members), tripling the number of churches (net add of 53), doubling the number of countries (net add of 11) seems to be a solid achievement in a 14 year period especially because the starting point is low... as in 750. This is because there are many more logistical complexities when establishing churches in additional cities and adding more countries in a fragmented region such as Europe. Conversely, I would surmise that growth in a large region such as China would be faster... a single country, one language, etc.

That is only my opinion and of course it is the Lord Jesus who will judge the value of His servants works and their reward.

Still I do not think that this Europe data point or the Google Trends data point are sufficient to understand the interest or disinterest trend.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:17 PM   #43
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Those numbers do represent an increase in LC membership, however, some questions come to mind (none of which I have a good answer for):

1) What about the massive disassociation of LC's in Europe from LSM in the late 80's? How many members were there in Europe before that happened, how many after?[/B]

.
Excellent question Friedel.

Today LC members have to deal with the reality that there were Recovery churches -- indiginous, healthy, active, amd vibrant -- back in the 70's and 80's, and far more pleasing to the Lord, and bringing glory to God -- than any present day LC in Europe.

Why did they disassociate? Did they just part ways? Were they just doing their own thing? Were there so-called ambitious leaders?
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:04 PM   #44
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Igzy>Well, you have a point. But that doesn't help LSM's problem of declining interest in Lee at all, does it?

What decline? Post 28 from Unregistered shows a 4X increase over a 14 year period in membership in Europe. Even if those direct stats are ignored (there is no reason to ignore it but some people will anyway) it does not change my challenge to Tome's use of an internet search engine to draw his conclusion about interest/disinterest or membership in the local churches..... Google Trend is a single data point.
You are making a storm in a teacup to miss the larger point. Four times nothing is still nothing.

Sorry, Nee and Lee had their time. There is not going to be a significant resurgence of interest in them to validate the "Recovery" as anything but a tiny niche group. Their time has passed. They had their chance. Ain't going to happen. That's the fact you need to deal with. And that's the fact that dwindling Internet interest demonstrates. Which is the point.

I'm not the least bit interested in Tomes' popularity on the internet and I doubt he is. But you should be interested in Lee's. And it's relatively nothing. Do you expect it to grow? Why would you? Deus ex machina?
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:33 PM   #45
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You are making a storm in a teacup to miss the larger point. Four times nothing is still nothing.

Sorry, Nee and Lee had their time. There is not going to be a significant resurgence of interest in them to validate the "Recovery" as anything but a tiny niche group. Their time has passed. They had their chance. Ain't going to happen. That's the fact you need to deal with. And that's the fact that dwindling Internet interest demonstrates. Which is the point.

I'm not the least bit interested in Tomes' popularity on the internet and I doubt he is. But you should be interested in Lee's. And it's relatively nothing. Do you expect it to grow? Why would you? Deus ex machina?
Oh, okay.

Thanks
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Old 01-18-2015, 02:47 PM   #46
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Why did they disassociate? Did they just part ways? Were they just doing their own thing? Were there so-called ambitious leaders?
Some might say they were being rebellious.
Others might say they were not "respecting the feeling of the body".
All the while, whitewashing the real issues that caused local churches to disassociate.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:31 PM   #47
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Those numbers do represent an increase in LC membership, however, some questions come to mind (none of which I have a good answer for):

1) What about the massive disassociation of LC's in Europe from LSM in the late 80's? How many members were there in Europe before that happened, how many after?


2) How do these numbers compare to LC membership in America during that same time period?
When the churches in Western Europe and the UK under the distinct leadership of the brothers in Stuttgart, particularly John So, dissociated themselves from Witness Lee/ his Office/Living Stream Ministry in 1988, there were about 400 meeting in Stuttgart.

The other large locality was Blackpool in England but not nowhere near the numbers of Stuttgart.

My educated guess is that there were probably around 800 in all of Western Europe and the UK; possibly less. (Eastern Europe came after the demise of the Berlin Wall.)

Only one locality in all of Western Europe and the UK, allied with Stuttgart, did not break away and remained loyal to Anaheim: Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee in northern West Germany. There were about eighteen meeting there in total.

However, Philip Lee had by then already commissioned one Chris Lee (no relation) in London to start a new office. That step effectively killed whatever had been raised up in Blackpool and the rest of the UK over several years.

So the "Office" started on a clean slate. The Local Church started over.

There were Local Churches in England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, West Germany, Spain, (I think) Portugal, Sweden (mainly through migration), possibly Denmark … and that is about it. (I am speaking from memory from very long ago.) Some localities were very small, perhaps less than 10.
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Old 01-18-2015, 03:58 PM   #48
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So the "Office" started on a clean slate. The Local Church started over.
My impression is that they're probably OK w/going back and forth from extremely tiny, to just tiny, and then back to extremely tiny, et cetera, et cetera, for decades. Wasn't the remnant that returned to Israel in the Old Testament one-third of the people? Well, they're content to be a remnant which is not even one-third of one percent, and often not even one-tenth of one percent.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:00 PM   #49
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Inevitably, they are only one step away from their Rubicon.
Rubicon? As in, point of no return? I think to a lot of us, they crossed that years ago...
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:06 PM   #50
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Dong Yu Lan was the King Pin for South America and elsewhere and after the death of the main King Pin he became a serious contender for the Throne of Pin. So, they cut him off at the knees but that did not stop him. Dong's Pin Empire today is all over. Perhaps he is now THE King Pin of the “Recovery” in the world today.
Can someone do a Don Yu Lan query on Google search? I would be interested to see what his search numbers are.

I don't think Tomes' assumption that Google searches are a good metric of LSM growth is a good one. If you look at LSM, they flood the college campus with gospel tracts. No mention of Lee. Then, once the mark has accepted Jesus, then it is "church life" love bombing. Only then do the mark slowly get the ministry of the age, one trumpet, one accord, etc. And even then they are probably told not to trust internet searches. They are probably warned over and over again about poisonous web sites.

I am only guessing here. I heard about their methods about 7 years ago. Have not heard anything since that I remember. Not sure how it is different today. I know the radio broadcasts obviously push the "rich ministry" of Witness Lee.

http://www.localchurches.org/

http://www.localchurch.org/

http://www.local-church-history.org/

Somebody mentioned LSM flooding the cyberspace with web sites to catch all possible searches. If you look at their web sites that seems to be the case.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:15 PM   #51
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My impression is that they're probably OK w/going back and forth from extremely tiny, to just tiny, and then back to extremely tiny, et cetera, et cetera, for decades. Wasn't the remnant that returned to Israel in the Old Testament one-third of the people? Well, they're content to be a remnant which is not even one-third of one percent, and often not even one-tenth of one percent.
What do you want? They're backward thinkers; reverse engineering God with the Bible. Trying to go back to 2000 yrs ago. And their prolly just hooking the unsuspecting ignorant.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:08 PM   #52
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My impression is that they're probably OK w/going back and forth from extremely tiny, to just tiny, and then back to extremely tiny, et cetera, et cetera, for decades. Wasn't the remnant that returned to Israel in the Old Testament one-third of the people? Well, they're content to be a remnant which is not even one-third of one percent, and often not even one-tenth of one percent.
That is very true. WL said himself:
Quote:
I don’t care for the loss of any church. Even if the entire U.S.A. is closed to me I don’t care. I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth.
This is why I find the whole subject so ironic. On the one hand, the LC is all for "the increase", then when it doesn't happen, WL turns around and says things like the quote posted above.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:17 PM   #53
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When the churches in Western Europe and the UK under the distinct leadership of the brothers in Stuttgart, particularly John So, dissociated themselves from Witness Lee/ his Office/Living Stream Ministry in 1988, there were about 400 meeting in Stuttgart.

The other large locality was Blackpool in England but not nowhere near the numbers of Stuttgart.

My educated guess is that there were probably around 800 in all of Western Europe and the UK; possibly less. (Eastern Europe came after the demise of the Berlin Wall.)

Only one locality in all of Western Europe and the UK, allied with Stuttgart, did not break away and remained loyal to Anaheim: Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee in northern West Germany. There were about eighteen meeting there in total.

However, Philip Lee had by then already commissioned one Chris Lee (no relation) in London to start a new office. That step effectively killed whatever had been raised up in Blackpool and the rest of the UK over several years.

So the "Office" started on a clean slate. The Local Church started over.

There were Local Churches in England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, West Germany, Spain, (I think) Portugal, Sweden (mainly through migration), possibly Denmark … and that is about it. (I am speaking from memory from very long ago.) Some localities were very small, perhaps less than 10.
Interesting, I've never really heard any statistics regarding what Europe was like before. It sounds to me like the 750 number was essentially gaining back what they lost. 3000 is a considerable increase by LC standards, but I'm not that impressed.

I constantly hear the brothers say how Europe is "closed" to the gospel if as that is an excuse for the ineffectiveness of their work. Now, I don't know how "closed" Europe really is, but I think it's fair to say that there are other factors being involved than Europe simply being "closed off".
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:29 PM   #54
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750 is a small number... and so is 3000 compared to the larger context. The discussion is about growth rate not percentage against the whole.
My point is that growth rate is meaningless when you start at something that is statistically insignificant relative to zero.

Statistics is not meaningful when the increments are not statistically significant.

Sort of like the problem of whether medication X has a statistically significant effect on recovery from illness Y. If you have a difference of 4, it is irrelevant if the total in the study is 1,000. But at the other end, if you only have a study of 15, 4 is significant. But because of the insignificant size of the sample, a change of 4 becomes difficult to isolate from all kinds of anomalies because the distribution of 15 is likely too skewed to be a reasonable base.

If you have a population of 1M and you already have 1/2 of them, getting a 50% increase is a major thing. Getting even 1% is a major thing.

But if you only have 750 to start with, adding another 3 times to it (to 3,000) is major when viewed from where you were, but only 0.006% growth when looking at the pie from which you have been eating.

Given that there were every bit as many people in the group in Europe many years ago, as someone else has pointed out, they have gotten nowhere. And an increase of 300% (3X), while comparatively large when isolated from the rest of the world, it is small. (A am not quibbling with the 4X growth statement except that I just can't keep repeating it. 1X of those 4X were already there. The growth is 3X. The number is 4 times the previous number, but the amount of growth is 3X. No, that is not insignificant. But it is not 4X.)

Funny how the LRC is out to take over the world yet the parts of the world in which they already reside hardly knows they are there. Not much of a takeover.

Cassidy, I have already pointed out that the article by Nigel does not really say much since there is insufficient information and true comparability, coupled with uncertain causation to make any real assertions. But among the possible results, a decline in interest in the LRC could be a cause. And having 3X more people in Europe does not stand in the way of that result (or any result) because the numerical insignificance of the group makes analysis nearly meaningless.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:10 PM   #55
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Interesting, I've never really heard any statistics regarding what Europe was like before. It sounds to me like the 750 number was essentially gaining back what they lost. 3000 is a considerable increase by LC standards, but I'm not that impressed.

I constantly hear the brothers say how Europe is "closed" to the gospel if as that is an excuse for the ineffectiveness of their work. Now, I don't know how "closed" Europe really is, but I think it's fair to say that there are other factors being involved than Europe simply being "closed off".
Perhaps Europeans are a little too sophisticated for the little Bible preacher from China?
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:14 PM   #56
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That is very true. WL said himself:

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Originally Posted by Witness Lee
I don’t care for the loss of any church. Even if the entire U.S.A. is closed to me I don’t care. I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth.
This is why I find the whole subject so ironic. On the one hand, the LC is all for "the increase", then when it doesn't happen, WL turns around and says things like the quote posted above.
Well there you have it, folks. God's mouthpiece who recovers God's truth, and is satisfied even with only ten or twenty faithfully meeting together to practice this truth, which he has recovered. While some six billion others on this planet...what are they doing? What truth are they practicing?

Is this man some kind of god himself, that he would make such a declaration? Who is this man?
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:36 PM   #57
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Well there you have it, folks. God's mouthpiece who recovers God's truth, and is satisfied even with only ten or twenty faithfully meeting together to practice this truth, which he has recovered. While some six billion others on this planet...what are they doing? What truth are they practicing?

Is this man some kind of god himself, that he would make such a declaration? Who is this man?
An alien from China.
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:44 PM   #58
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Well there you have it, folks. God's mouthpiece who recovers God's truth, and is satisfied even with only ten or twenty faithfully meeting together to practice this truth, which he has recovered. While some six billion others on this planet...what are they doing? What truth are they practicing?

Is this man some kind of god himself, that he would make such a declaration? Who is this man?
To me, this all explains why LC numbers are so small. I think that the BB's and LC elders honestly believe that they can gain loads of people, and that is why there putting forth the effort to do so. The reality of the situation, however, is that WL had a very different attitude to getting the increase he wanted. He spoke publicly about it, but then when it didn't work out, he would shell up and claim how he needed only a few people who were loyal to him.

So what if all the saints who were out doing BFA activities or working on campuses, knew what WL said: "I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth." Statements like that pretty much negate the value of any gospel work people in the LC are doing.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:36 PM   #59
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To me, this all explains why LC numbers are so small. I think that the BB's and LC elders honestly believe that they can gain loads of people, and that is why there putting forth the effort to do so. The reality of the situation, however, is that WL had a very different attitude to getting the increase he wanted. He spoke publicly about it, but then when it didn't work out, he would shell up and claim how he needed only a few people who were loyal to him.

So what if all the saints who were out doing BFA activities or working on campuses, knew what WL said: "I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth." Statements like that pretty much negate the value of any gospel work people in the LC are doing.
It's heartening that they are self defeating.
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:50 PM   #60
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So what if all the saints who were out doing BFA activities or working on campuses, knew what WL said: "I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth." Statements like that pretty much negate the value of any gospel work people in the LC are doing.
But of course, some of the faithful loyalists are aware of these statements. Psychoanalyze that...
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:01 PM   #61
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To me, this all explains why LC numbers are so small. I think that the BB's and LC elders honestly believe that they can gain loads of people, and that is why there putting forth the effort to do so. The reality of the situation, however, is that WL had a very different attitude to getting the increase he wanted. He spoke publicly about it, but then when it didn't work out, he would shell up and claim how he needed only a few people who were loyal to him.

So what if all the saints who were out doing BFA activities or working on campuses, knew what WL said: "I only care for ten to twenty faithful ones meeting together to practice the truth." Statements like that pretty much negate the value of any gospel work people in the LC are doing.
What is really the purpose of gospel work?
To lead men and women to Christ?
Or is it to proselytize?
As to why LC numbers are so small. The nature of the recovery had changed over the last 25-30 years. The recovery has become ministry churches. If a brother or sister is not for the ministry, they will not fit into the local church.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:49 AM   #62
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To me, this all explains why LC numbers are so small. I think that the BB's and LC elders honestly believe that they can gain loads of people, and that is why there putting forth the effort to do so. The reality of the situation, however, is that WL had a very different attitude to getting the increase he wanted. He spoke publicly about it, but then when it didn't work out, he would shell up and claim how he needed only a few people who were loyal to him.
That statement that Lee made was extremely manipulative and totally dishonest.

I was there when he made it, at least one of the times. It was designed to tug at your heart to coerce us into a more absolute consecration to Lee's commands. Dont believe for one second that Lee was content with ten or twenty followers, neither did he want those who just "practice the truth." His overriding demand was for unfailing and unquestioning loyalty to his leadership. To his inner blended circle of loyalists, they would "leave all" to follow him, including their wife and kids. Then they could feel the "glory of true discipleship," just as the earliest disciples who left all to follow Jesus.

Think about the implications of that. Lee wanted to be their "jesus." That alone was the entrance requirement for being truly "blended."

Most of us at the time never understood what Lee was doing.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:44 AM   #63
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Still at it, eh?

Grace to you all, but this morning I was reminded that the Lord still speaks in my speaking. I don't know why I was led here after that but I'm definitely not settling in to rejoin the rehashing. I just don't even have time. The Lord has led me many light years away from this place and, I guess, given me this word:

No human effort will yield improved sight.
He is the unique eyesalve.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:30 AM   #64
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Hi YP, nice to "see" you again.

Yeah, we're still at it, and we probably will be for as long as all those dear brothers and sisters in the Local Church are trapped within a system of error.
This is the main reason why this forum exists. Of course there are lot's of reasons why people participate in the forum and that's ok too.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:05 AM   #65
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I am pretty sure the numbers in Europe are inflated. A group of LCer's came visiting our church (we didn't know who\what they were at the time) and as I was reading on the internet about Witness Lee, I ran across an update on Europe where they were claiming all the members of our church for the "recovery". We didn't even realize we were being counted as a part of the Lord's Recovery Just from that experience, I am pretty sure that they are not honest with their updates and numbers. They came to us as wolves in sheep's clothing and I trust nothing that comes out of that organization.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:05 AM   #66
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Still at it, eh?

Grace to you all, but this morning I was reminded that the Lord still speaks in my speaking. I don't know why I was led here after that but I'm definitely not settling in to rejoin the rehashing. I just don't even have time. The Lord has led me many light years away from this place and, I guess, given me this word:

No human effort will yield improved sight.
He is the unique eyesalve.
So wonderful to hear from an old friend.

Thanks for the gems that point us back to Him.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:43 AM   #67
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I have already pointed out that the article by Nigel does not really say much since there is insufficient information and true comparability, coupled with uncertain causation to make any real assertions. But among the possible results, a decline in interest in the LRC could be a cause. And having 3X more people in Europe does not stand in the way of that result (or any result) because the numerical insignificance of the group makes analysis nearly meaningless.
So long as the person and work of Witness Lee is emphasized over the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Local Church will find itself virtually insignificant in the Body of Christ, and even in the eyes of the general public. I had high hopes that when Lee died it would make a way for the Lord to do something miraculous, and turn the hearts and minds of all these sincere brothers and sisters towards His Word and His Kingdom, but after almost two decades things seem to be getting worse rather than better.

Really and truly, statistics are just statistics and people and groups will use them to serve their own purposes. In the past, Lee and his followers have always tried to have it both ways - If the movement was growing then they all sung the praises of "the ministry" and how the growth was proof of the Lord's approval and blessing. Then when the tide moved in the opposite direction they would pull out the "we're the small remnant returned to the proper ground" and "narrow is the way and few there be that find it" cards. Remember what Mark Twain said "there are three kinds of lies... lies, damned lies and statistics". At the end of the day the only statistic that will count is the Lord asking us if we have been faithful to Him and His Word.

In any event, I for one appreciate Nigel's efforts, God knows the guys over at LSM/DCP are not going to be forthcoming about such things.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:50 AM   #68
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I am pretty sure the numbers in Europe are inflated. A group of LCer's came visiting our church (we didn't know who\what they were at the time) and as I was reading on the internet about Witness Lee, I ran across an update on Europe where they were claiming all the members of our church for the "recovery". We didn't even realize we were being counted as a part of the Lord's Recovery Just from that experience, I am pretty sure that they are not honest with their updates and numbers. They came to us as wolves in sheep's clothing and I trust nothing that comes out of that organization.
WOW You would think this fellow would be so happy about being "part of the Lord's Recovery"......NOT!
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:57 PM   #69
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I am pretty sure the numbers in Europe are inflated. A group of LCer's came visiting our church (we didn't know who\what they were at the time) and as I was reading on the internet about Witness Lee, I ran across an update on Europe where they were claiming all the members of our church for the "recovery". We didn't even realize we were being counted as a part of the Lord's Recovery Just from that experience, I am pretty sure that they are not honest with their updates and numbers. They came to us as wolves in sheep's clothing and I trust nothing that comes out of that organization.
Very interesting. They must have some nerve to do that. I'm afraid they can get away with it too, if people don't know what's really going on.
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Old 01-21-2015, 06:37 PM   #70
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I am pretty sure the numbers in Europe are inflated. A group of LCer's came visiting our church (we didn't know who\what they were at the time) and as I was reading on the internet about Witness Lee, I ran across an update on Europe where they were claiming all the members of our church for the "recovery". We didn't even realize we were being counted as a part of the Lord's Recovery Just from that experience, I am pretty sure that they are not honest with their updates and numbers. They came to us as wolves in sheep's clothing and I trust nothing that comes out of that organization.
It wouldn't be the first time numbers or statistics would be inflated or manipulated. The following is from John So's 1990 Testimony in Manila on page 6

I wasn’t opposing or anything fermenting within me. I’m sorry to say, dear saints, I think there is a plot, a conspiracy, there, not on our part, but on somebody else’s part to bring the churches in Europe and myself under a certain leading—under the, sorry to say, the hidden function of the office. That I must confess I do not, I just cannot fully agree. But that doesn’t mean that if I don’t agree, I oppose. I went to Taipei. I went to Taipei. I joined the door knocking. Okay, I enjoyed it. You might not believe me, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I fully submitted to the group. You can ask my group leaders, I baptized a few people, really. And I am quite fond of that whole group. But when I was there, listen, one major leading brother in Taipei every time he saw me, he told me that the statistics were manipulated. That’s the word I think he used. I said, “Are you sure brother?” He said, “Yes.”

I believe one of Nigel's writings addressed the issue of statistics also.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:13 PM   #71
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The product often falls way short of the sales pitch. It's common business practice. It's not even thought of as lying.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:33 AM   #72
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It wouldn't be the first time numbers or statistics would be inflated or manipulated. The following is from John So's 1990 Testimony in Manila on page 6

I wasn’t opposing or anything fermenting within me. I’m sorry to say, dear saints, I think there is a plot, a conspiracy, there, not on our part, but on somebody else’s part to bring the churches in Europe and myself under a certain leading—under the, sorry to say, the hidden function of the office. That I must confess I do not, I just cannot fully agree. But that doesn’t mean that if I don’t agree, I oppose. I went to Taipei. I went to Taipei. I joined the door knocking. Okay, I enjoyed it. You might not believe me, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I fully submitted to the group. You can ask my group leaders, I baptized a few people, really. And I am quite fond of that whole group. But when I was there, listen, one major leading brother in Taipei every time he saw me, he told me that the statistics were manipulated. That’s the word I think he used. I said, “Are you sure brother?” He said, “Yes.”

I believe one of Nigel's writings addressed the issue of statistics also.
I've never felt comfortable with the way the LC presents statistics. Even when statistics are left intact, it seems the brothers tend to exaggerate the significance of numbers presented. Even when they talk about what could happen, they have no realistic expectations. I've been to meetings where the brothers find some excerpt from WL's ministry where he said things like "so such and such and the church will have a 100% increase in a year". Everyone knows stuff like that isn't going to happen, yet the brothers can say it with a straight face.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:38 AM   #73
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It wouldn't be the first time numbers or statistics would be inflated or manipulated.
And when numbers are a focus outside of using them to suggest that more space is needed, there is something wrong. No church is ignorant of their numbers. But the ones that dote on them and try to argue them to as high a level as possible are, at a minimum, misaiming.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:06 AM   #74
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... it is clear that the LRC claims the right to cloak their assemblies with the nomenclature of "lampstand" and to exclude all others from it. If they aren't there, then there is no lampstand. If they are there, then there is a lampstand. And if they move away, the lampstand goes with them.

But it is not so in the NT, especially in the one place the term is used — Revelation. The lampstand is there in the city that was declared to have lost its first love. It was there where that woman, Jezebel, taught despicable things. It was there where everyone was lukewarm.

The lampstand is everywhere that there are people shining as the image of God in their lives among the darkness that is the world. The LRC's interest is not its testimony to the world. Only to the principalities and powers. And they don't even know how little that testimony means when their lack of shining to the living humans demonstrates that they are not having any impact on the world. At least not as a single group.
Here is an interesting thought: if LC nomenclature of "lampstand" accepts the scriptural presentation of each church having a lampstand, as in the seven churches in Asia, then how is it that LC assemblies only are designated as lampstands in the world today? How does the thought of each LSM-affiliated assembly having the unique lampstand square with the scriptures showing that each fellowship, no matter how degraded or what the situation (Balaam, Jezebel, Nicolaitans, etc) had a lampstand?

Did WL dance around this disparity, I wonder? Or did he just ignore it?
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:18 AM   #75
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Here is an interesting thought: if LC nomenclature of "lampstand" accepts the scriptural presentation of each church having a lampstand, as in the seven churches in Asia, then how is it that LC assemblies only are designated as lampstands in the world today? How does the thought of each LSM-affiliated assembly having the unique lampstand square with the scriptures showing that each fellowship, no matter how degraded or what the situation (Balaam, Jezebel, Nicolaitans, etc) had a lampstand?

Did WL dance around this disparity, I wonder? Or did he just ignore it?
They kept their lampstand because they were still a proper local church, standing on the local ground of oneness, i.e. one church one city. To WL the unforgiveable sin was division, as defined by him. Every other failure could be corrected by the Son of Man walking in your midst, but WL defined division resulted in being hopeless and helpless.

Or so we were told.
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:50 AM   #76
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They kept their lampstand because they were still a proper local church, standing on the local ground of oneness, i.e. one church one city.
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“The seven churches…symbolize the seven kinds of churches in church history…The initial church had its continuation in the suffering church; the suffering church became the worldly church; and the worldly church became the apostate church. Hence, the first four churches issued eventually in one kind of church…the Roman Catholic Church. Then the reformed church…came into existence as another kind of church, a church not fully recovered. Hence, after this, the recovered church was raised up as a full recovery of the proper church life. This…[is] the third kind of church. Through the degradation of the recovered church, the degraded recovered church came into being. This can be counted as the fourth kind of church. These four kinds of churches will all remain until the Lord comes back. Undoubtedly, only the recovered church can fulfill God's eternal purpose…” [Rev. 3:22, RcV., note 1].
But they all have lampstands????
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:09 AM   #77
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The thing about Witness Lee was his self-serving mindset in approaching the Bible. He looked at everything as a way to define attributes which he could ascribe to his movement and his movement alone. Perhaps that was one reason his teachings were often a little different. It allowed him to ensure that other groups didn't have those attributes, yet he could teach his churches to have them so that they could be "proper" and legitimate.

It's like you decide a certain unusual shade of color is the best color. Then you paint your house that color and declare it the best house. Since there are tens of thousands of colors, the odds of any other house being just the right color is unlikely. Voila! You have the unique, proper house. Everyone else is off.

That was Lee.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:26 AM   #78
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But they all have lampstands????
I remember this teaching years ago by Lee which defined a "true" local church, i.e. one that was a legitimate "lampstand." The were a half-dozen points, one of which was "no affiliations" with outside agencies or organizations. Even at the time I wondered how in the world I could accept that in all good conscience. So I basically stuck that in my "to be addressed later" file, and continued marching on with every one else. We would accept nonsense like that, without discussion of its merits, because TC would have shut them down.

And that's the subtlety of Lee and his ministry. His egregious hypocrisy forced his adherents to reject the speaking of their own conscience.

No affiliations?!? No strings attached to LSM?!? No remote controls in the hands of Lee and his Blendeds. Are you serious?!? Only LSM LC's can be described as true Biblical lampstands?!?
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:28 AM   #79
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I remember this teaching years ago by Lee which defined a "true" local church, i.e. one that was a legitimate "lampstand." The were a half-dozen points, one of which was "no affiliations" with outside agencies or organizations. Even at the time I wondered how in the world I could accept that in all good conscience. So I basically stuck that in my "to be addressed later" file, and continued marching on with every one else. We would accept nonsense like that, without discussion of its merits, because TC would have shut them down.
Lee's hermeneutics were exercises in logic, yet supposedly we weren't mature enough or pure enough to exercise our own.

So Thyatira was a genuine and legitimate lampstand, apostasy and all. But it signified the apostate church which wasn't genuine or legitimate, and thus didn't get a lampstand. Because only the LSM-affiliated churches (you know, the ones with no outside affiliation) were genuine and legitimate, with lampstands on the earth. You see that Thyatira gets a lampstand, and also doesn't get a lampstand. I guess.

As they would say in the LC, "Just pray about it." Ask the Lord to open your eyes. Right.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:42 PM   #80
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As they would say in the LC, "Just pray about it." Ask the Lord to open your eyes. Right.
After you've prayed about and the light you receive isn't according to the "fellowship given", go back and pray some more until you finally receive the light.
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Old 11-13-2015, 12:51 PM   #81
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I remember this teaching years ago by Lee which defined a "true" local church, i.e. one that was a legitimate "lampstand." The were a half-dozen points, one of which was "no affiliations" with outside agencies or organizations.
You mean to tell me none of the local churches have any affiliations with Living Stream Ministry, which in my opinion is a biased affiliation.

How would that compare to community churches that may have affiliations with non-profits agencies/organizations that support homeless shelters, food banks, shelters for abused women, and so on?
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:03 PM   #82
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So Thyatira was a genuine and legitimate lampstand, apostasy and all. But it signified the apostate church which wasn't genuine or legitimate, and thus didn't get a lampstand.
Too funny.

Leave it to aron to point out the obvious.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:06 PM   #83
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You mean to tell me none of the local churches have any affiliations with Living Stream Ministry, which in my opinion is a biased affiliation.
There can't be any affiliations with outside organizations because neither LSM nor the LC's were organizations.

Have you forgotten that we were organisms, not organizations?
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:24 PM   #84
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. . . we were organisms . . .
When I think "organisms" I think of parasites and bacteria. Nothing good.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:28 PM   #85
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When I think "organisms" I think of parasites and bacteria. Nothing good.
fungus, mold, spores, toadstools...

Note, too, again, "the organism of the Triune God" is an attempt to remove personality and thought from the equation. It's just "life." Spontaneous, automatic... blah, blah. Yes, we should all spontaneously and automatically submit to the MOTA, without thinking. Get out of your mind and be a spontaneous fungus. De-evolution.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:39 PM   #86
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fungus, mold, spores, toadstools...
Ever see that children's movie "Secret Garden" where the young boy was locked up by the oppressive housemother in his bedroom all fearful of going outside?

When he explained why he must not go outside to his young cousin, she raised her nose and quipped, "spores!?!"

Great line! Great little actress! How appropriate concerning the context of this forum!
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:42 PM   #87
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fungus, mold, spores, toadstools...

Note, too, again, "the organism of the Triune God" is an attempt to remove personality and thought from the equation. It's just "life." Spontaneous, automatic... blah, blah. Yes, we should all spontaneously and automatically submit to the MOTA, without thinking. Get out of your mind and be a spontaneous fungus. De-evolution.
And this is where the Person and personality of God becomes important. God is not theory. God is not spontaneous combustion. God is not a "life force."

No.

God is the Father of mankind. (for starters) He is a being that created us in His image, therefore important traits of our existence must reflect Him in some way. And no matter how metaphorical the first chapters of Genesis may be, God came to talk with the man he created. There is a connection of some kind. There is will and desire and design.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:13 PM   #88
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After you've prayed about and the light you receive isn't according to the "fellowship given", go back and pray some more until you finally receive the light.
Exactly. Keep praying until you hear a voice from heaven saying, "Brother Lee is always right."
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:57 PM   #89
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fungus, mold, spores, toadstools...

Note, too, again, "the organism of the Triune God" is an attempt to remove personality and thought from the equation. It's just "life." Spontaneous, automatic... blah, blah. Yes, we should all spontaneously and automatically submit to the MOTA, without thinking. Get out of your mind and be a spontaneous fungus. De-evolution.
You know Igzy, I let a lot of crap slide by when I thought that the LC was doing the "God-ordained way", you know all prophesying, etc.. Now that I've thrown Witness Lee along with his blendeds out on their ears I'm not gonna let that crap slide by. Where in the bible is the word or concept of the body of Christ being an "organism" found? It's true that the body of Christ is more than an organization, it's the body of Christ, but who has the right to coin a new word "organism"? I guess none of the writers of the NT had the vision to see the reality that WL and his blindeds saw.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:59 PM   #90
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You know Igzy, I let a lot of crap slide by when I thought that the LC was doing the "God-ordained way", you know all prophesying, etc.. Now that I've thrown Witness Lee along with his blendeds out on their ears I'm not gonna let that crap slide by. Where in the bible is the word or concept of the body of Christ being an "organism" found? It's true that the body of Christ is more than an organization, it's the body of Christ, but who has the right to coin a new word "organism"? I guess none of the writers of the NT had the vision to see the reality that WL and his blindeds saw.
The Blendeds are interested in only one thing: Maintaining the status quo so they don't have to get real jobs. Seriously, these guys have no marketable skills, other than bullying. Maybe they are hiring in Syria, or Iraq, but certainly not old white guys, and certainly not "Christians."
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:56 AM   #91
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WL's hermeneutics were exercises in logic, yet supposedly we weren't mature enough or pure enough to exercise our own...
Here's an example: WL said that Psalm 1 came from a "natural" and "fallen" writer, using their "human concepts"; it wasn't a revelation from God, nor a word indicative of His coming Christ. Now, nowhere that I can see in the NT reception of Psalms is this treatment suggested. But it's as though WL took Paul's "salvation is by grace/faith, not of works of law" as an excuse to simply dismiss Psalm 1's prescription of right behavior, and attention to God's law. Psalm 1 was mere vanity, according to WL.

Okay, fine. Logical. But at the end of Psalm 1, there's a part about the obedient person participating in the "assembly of the righteous" (v 5). Don't have my RecV handy, but if I remember, this was essentially ignored by WL. There are no righteous, so there's no assembly of the righteous... got it?

But later, when the NT references Christ's participation in the great assembly in psalm, e.g. Heb 2:12 citing Psa 22:22 (see also Psa 35:18, 107:32, etc etc), WL is forced to acknowledge this assembly as actuality. Not to mention that the LXX word for 'assembly' is the Greek 'ekklesia', usually translated in English as 'Church'. Ever heard that word before?

Question: is it possible that the righteous man, rewarded by God, who is "Planted by the streams, bearing fruit in season, his leaf shall not wither" (see also Rev 22:1-2, cf Jer 17:8, Ezek 47:12) is somehow related to Jesus Christ of the NT? Jesus said, "These things were written concerning Me", and He didn't suggest its limitation to Psalms 2,8,16,22,110, etc. Nor did anyone else that I can see. Why did WL's logic lead him to such a restrictive conclusion? And isn't it possible that the assembly in Psalm 1:5 is related to the assembly written of elsewhere? If not, why not?

But the larger question for me is, how could several thousand otherwise intelligent people sit quietly under this word, and not one could exercise judgment or discernment to examine it, and see if it were so? Not one person's logic led them to question this conclusion? What kind of church is this?

No wonder there are "signs of decline in LSMs Recovery". No wonder at all. Anyone with capacity is expected to pretend that they have none.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:46 PM   #92
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The church in Dallas began in 1971 with possibly two dozen 'saints.' Sorry for the quotes. I began meeting about one and half years later. By 75 or 76 there were between 250 and 300 in Sun morning meeting. Just 15 years later there were only around 6 in the Lords Table. This was told me by a leading elder. He and another substantial elder came and turned things around. Today, 40 plus years later there are at least 200 meeting but with the split of the Hispanics and anglos, it is more difficult to exactly number. Clearly there is little net increase. Of course they would say many have migrated out. Some did migrate back.

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Old 12-30-2017, 09:04 AM   #93
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Problem is FTTA creates an environment where young people don't want to stick around if FTTA isn't a goal.
I've suspected this and am concerned for some family members who have gone and one who is about to go back to the FTT. The last training I went to in Anaheim they had a "fellowship" time between breaks. I've been in sales and they were being pitched. I went with a family member to this "fellowship" during the break. They did end up going but were on the fence at the time. There were several people speaking and there was definitely an emotional pull, they hype it up with former trainees talking about how wonderful it was, talk about it being the "highest way." I saw that they were giving somewhat of a sales pitch, but it still worked! I sort of felt disappointed when I left that I couldn't go! They're good!! They did say something like, "but don't come if you're wanting to FIX your life and make sure it's what YOU want." But just the issue of being "sold" on something under the mask of "fellowship" is deceiving. I don't think they realize (I hope they don't) how serious that is- these decisions effect lives for generations, they can separate family, prevent further education. I didn't have a relationship with that family member for 2 years other than a few phone calls/emails/maybe one or two visits. They're in such a spiritual bubble, all they could talk about was what they "enjoyed" in their classes. This isn't just a Bible School, it's thought reform school. It created a mindset where they are alienated from anyone who isn't being "reformed" and creates a disconnect and the illusion that they are now "enlightened" and you aren't. That's when I'm seeing the spiritual eliteness set in. Our relationship really suffered. They would have had no idea how to respond to what was going on in my life at the time so I didn't tell them about it. It was like we were on two totally different planets. Their personality totally changed. Not their relationship with Jesus, their actual personality. I'm not saying they didn't grow in their relationship with Jesus, but I feel like the mind narrowing environment has to limit Him. I've read about thought reform and how people in these groups subconsciously take on a "cult persona." That's why they end up using the same verbage and intonations and look like clones of each other. It's not emotionally healthy. The same thing happens with leading brothers though and they think it's ok to encourage these kids to come. I wonder how many of them could actually recognize a thought reform technique and then, realize that these techniques cross spiritual boundaries with influencing people. Most spiritual abuse occurs from people who don't realize they're doling it out on people. When reading about it, I came across a list of about 20 something thought reform techniques and recognized around 2/3 of them practiced in the training. I think it's important to remember that in and of themselves, they're not all bad. It's the combination of them, number, and degrees in which they're used that creates thought reform (AKA brainwashing). The list included things like uniforms, strict schedules, shared living quarters, high teaching/big words, public testing of ones knowledge/public repetitive reciting of teachings, the us vs. them mentality, the idea that they are "set apart" and "above" other groups, a common shared goal involving much personal sacrifice, limiting family/friends outside the group, repetitive memorizing/speaking, benign rules, many of them though, that create an environment without questioning, reducing personal experiences that are "natural" and focusing on the "spiritual" (that one is a big one- being in your Spirit is not always their SPIRIT), its just the "flow" of repetitive "one-ness" and "flow" of the group. To speak out or question is automatically abhorrent, no matter the issue, because it's against the flow. There's a reverence to the leading ones where they are not accountable and with no path to question them, yet the people under their control are held to the strictest levels of accountability. Group think reigns in the "corporate" environment. There are many more but my point is- it took me a long time to realize that even if the teaching WAS spot on, the environment is a thought reform model and it's not acceptable!! These are methods that have been used in communist and suppressive governments and also in cults. These methods, maybe aside from a uniform and living quarters- which is just practical, shouldn't be used in a Christian Bible school. Christ can change our thoughts without thought reform tactics. But you can change the way a person thinks, especially at that age. I just see through it and wish more people did. If more people knew how it actually is, maybe they would think twice about going or discourage their family from going....

These tactics scare me because right now, there seems to be a big push to migrate to Europe. I know some older people who have actually moved there and more that are visiting often. Even the "blending trips" once every 2 years have been in other countries. I have an underlying feeling some of my family will so this topic hits a nerve with me. I just hope it helps anyone reading to realize how much they are influencing the people there. Most of us would agree, Jesus works on us differently and at different paces and times. Also, the "corporate" mentality there only LIMITS individual growth in Christ. It's very widely accepted outside of the LC that much INDIVIDUAL time in the word and prayer is needed- the FTT is the opposite! Not to mention, the schedule they have to keep just limits creativity and natural relationships in your life. Which of course, according to Lee- you shouldn't have "natural" relationships- this idea is crazy to me. The point is, the FTT is very systematic. How is this expressing Christ? It's so obvious to me this is how the Pharisees lived. If you really wanted to teach people the Bible, give them a study Bible and have them do it on their own time. I heard they had an online training now. I think that's more directed towards parents or people with careers though. Why can't the 20 somethings do that? Oh yeah, you'd probably lose some of the thought reform effectiveness. I apologize if I sound bitter, I'm obviously anti-FTT/LSM and hate seeing my family so involved with them. I just don't know why people count on this system to study the Bible. I'm sure there is library in their city they could go to every day!!

Sorry for going on but I really agree with you that the FTT wants full-timers, that's their goal. I think something that helps in that goal is that many of these people in FTT are so eager to get married after 2 years of little communication (always supervised) with the opposite sex that getting married and going full time seems like the "natural path" that's laid for them after graduating. Marriage feels like it becomes an increasingly big "idol" for them. Marriage is hard and there's a lot to deal with combining lives, etc. so it's just easier to be a full-timer since they're already trained in doing that. Taking on marriage and finding a career -yikes! My point is, the path of a full-timer is a much easier transition (in the beginning) for the trainees. And let's be honest, they just want to get married. Many end up marrying people from the FTT, but they don't really know each other and they fall in love with the "idea" of that person. There's also the hype of "waiting" and figuring out who is "spoken for." It can EASILY become the "ultimate goal," especially for the women. Now, I haven't been to the FTT but my family has and many friends. I've talked to them about all this and even in the LC, I have friends who agree this is an issue. In summary, its just not a healthy environment to emotionally grow and mature.

I just think these kids stay "kids" in and after the FTT because they lack real experiences in the world that naturally encourage healthy emotional growth. They are stuck in a system where they have to "ask" permission for too many things. I think getting married being probably the most important one but they don't learn to rely on their own feelings enough when they're in this lifestyle. There has to be a balance. They come out different people that struggle in society and are EXTREMELY SUSCEPTIBLE to suggestion. Many DO end up moving and going "full-time" because it's just easier! But right ahead for them, there's pressure to live up to a standard that is really unrealistic (I think we've all seen that). The way you dress, decorate your home, your entertainment, even how you plan your wedding is all so strangely similar among the people in the LC. I actually am at the point of dreading weddings of people in the LC. Luckily, my friends and family are a little older now so it's not as common. The "meeting wedding" is what usually happens and I know it's not always what people want to do. I have a friend who wanted dancing and was basically told that would be a very "low" thing to do. I know her and it would have probably been extremely PG and songs picked very carefully. But it was strongly discouraged. She didn't even want alcohol, just a fun reception. She ended up being so frustrated with the whole thing that she just did it in someone's home, with 20 people. It wasn't a "meeting wedding" but I guess it was considered acceptable. Those that dare to have something different actually feel guilty on some level. It's an "unspoken rule" to follow the LC wedding standard. Even for one of my family members weddings, they had a more normal wedding, but did give their "testimonies" in front of everyone. Obviously, I love my family and I'm happy that they are happy with the way they met, courted, gave each other back to the Lord, waited for years, fellowshipped with other people, saved themselves for marriage, and then- when everyone gave the "OK" they got married. I feel like it's just one example of how these 20 something adults can't do anything without "fellowship" or really, permission. And when they finally do it, the need to over explain how they did it the "right" way and now they're very "blessed" is too much. It's ok to just say, "We love the Lord, each other, and feel he brought us together." It was like this whole subliminal "perfect" example of how to do things as a young adult in the church life. It was explained to everyone at the wedding for at least 30 minutes, if not more. That, and their wedding website with their testimonies was just too much. As happy as I was for them, I know myself and a couple of my friends were like, "well, we can't all be perfect!" And the thing is, their "story" was just a LITTLE focused more on "giving the other person to the Lord" than I felt like what was actually going on. I don't know, but I think they both knew before the training that they would get back together. They followed the unspoken rules though and did have a great "example" to talk about- and they did. I'm saying all this not to knock on my family because it's not their fault they've eventually given in subconsciously to the pressure. But seeing it from the outside, I can see how their behavior meets their need to be "right" but that is really just creates more pressure in the LC lifestyle to do things a "certain way." The guilt/shame of going against the wind just reinforces a very unrealistic standard. There's little "breaking the mold." I feel like people reading can probably relate- the weddings and way to get married is all an unspoken system. It's just the "way" to do it in the LC. Some people can fall in line, a lot of them can't and just have to see this "standard" that is unrealistic. For myself, it creates not only pressure but guilt/shame for not being able to be this standard. Of course, we all want to do things the "right" way and maybe that was the right way for them, but the marriage "unspoken rules" are just part of the "path" that is laid out for anyone in the LC, and ESPECIALLY the trainees. Can you imagine the reaction if two trainees eloped to Vegas or Mexico??? It would almost be labelled a SIN. But, its not. It's their lives, they can elope and do whatever they want. Just the SHOCK of someone even doing that though shows what a SYSTEM they are in.

I'm not meaning to write so much, I apologize. I obviously feel strongly about this issue. The biggest issue for me (as annoying as the wedding stuff is) is the pressure to move to college towns being a full-timer. I know of several women who were in the training that ended up moving to these random towns, raising kids, are married to full-timers, several of them have little to no work experience and they aren't happy. Some have made friends and made the best of it (I feel like they still wonder "what if?") but most of their extended families don't see them regularly. THIS is what is happening. I know at least two who are suffering from depression and would probably do it over differently if given the chance. I know a few people in and out of the LC who have moved to another country and I don't think they're preparing people for the culture shock of this enormous decision!! Depression is a normal occurrence with moving to another country. Just getting acclimated and learning a language, being totally isolated from everything you know- is extremely hard on people. Not to mention, your support system is no longer your family, it's the church. I just don't like seeing people being exploited (in my opinion), and I think they're convincing people to live a life after thought reform tactics are used on them and it's just unfair. There are people in Europe that can take care of Europe, right? Why is it the job now of the local church (especially since reading the LC's in the US are down to 300 churches with just 25K members after 4 decades) to send people to Europe for the "Lord's move." The problem is, if you know anything about business or sales (I don't know much but it doesn't take an expert to see) you can recognize that in order to sell something, you must create passion/excitement. There's this exciting thing available and now, you're made to feel like you're "missing out" if you don't "buy in." Combine that with some thought reform tactics on someone in their early 20's, separate them from their family, have their years "wasted" in service to the LC when they could be getting a better education, give them some responsibilities and "burdens to carry" to create pressure not to leave, stroke their ego's every now and again, by then they'll have kids so all the pressure is on the husband to continue on this path(many full timers wives are stay at home moms who might do "service" in the local church office- nothing wrong with that, just how it is), create a desperate need (right now it's Europe. Syrian refugees salvation is now LC responsibility apparently) and tell everyone that the churches must be "built up" in Europe- or the Lord won't return (common goal created). This creates hype, the feeling of being in a group, the feeling of being part of a higher purpose bigger than yourself. Now these can all be great things, but what is the cost of this? Leaving your family? Can you honestly look at this situation and flip it- look at LSM and see how they may be profiting from this. Of course, I believe in mission work and we should associate ourselves with groups that are helping others and preaching the gospel. But, LSM is growing and growing as more people migrate to Europe and "build up" the churches. The people who are making decisions for the churches, also run LSM. We have a conflict of interest in play and are supposed to still trust that those people in control are for the Lord's Move in Europe. It makes zero sense to me that people don't see this. I might have more trust in these brothers that govern the "Lord's Move" if they didn't also control the business that would of course, supply all the materials to be sold, and hosts all the "events" that would be paid to attend, and then use tithes to pay for the DCP (legal team).

How did it get like this? For those who know the LC, right now- you will recognize this. I'm not saying all the saints are signing up to move to Europe, but they do believe and are convinced that the Lord is "moving" there because of the Lord's Recovery. Maybe it is. Get rid of all the conflicts of interest and lack of accountability and maybe I'll believe it then! It's way too shady right now.

Sorry for taking over this thread, I just think the point that you made about the goal of producing full-timers isn't a small thing. The way they're doing it uses manipulative practices and even if the leading brothers truly believe that they need to ask people to move to Europe, I hope they would realize that the methods in place to produce this outcome is nothing short of cruel. When people are taught to never question and live in a bubble of other people who are exactly the same, and they're hearing the same thing over and over and over again- yeah, you could probably get them to move to the other side of the world for what you think is the GOAL that needs to be attained.

But, how much of that is the Lord and how much are the methods meant to influence? At what point to you justify using the methods and thinking that the Lord will lead them away from it if they're supposed to be led away. Thought reform has been used and probably already narrowed their mindset and reduced their ability to think about what they want for THEIR life. They're wanting to do this now because they are on a "high mission" for the Lord (in their minds) and it's their responsibility now to help fulfill God's eternal purpose as their "place in the Body." Because of course, that's the way to lead people to Christ- only in the Lord's Recovery and living the full-timer's life will make them the "most useful" in accomplishing this goal. It's a set way, set path, no room for the Lord to lead another way. It's ok though because why would the Lord lead you another way? The leading brother's obviously know the way and the Lord's goal and your function in the body should never question that. The idea that the Lord could lead them another way never becomes a question for many of them- and that is scary. They can't help it- they've been in thought reform. This is it for them.....Agh, I could go on and on, I apologize. It gets me worked up. It's spiritual abuse and people don't see it.

The term I heard OFTEN was, "it's so PRECIOUS to waste your younger years on the Lord." Well, what that means is- "how lucky for you that you get to give us all your 20's and do the bidding for our agenda." Because of course, to waste your younger years on the Lord could never mean to do anything outside the Lord's Recovery and goals of the leading brothers.

Sorry for being long winded- I could probably split this up on different threads. There are just so many controlling forces at work and I take it personally with my family involved. I wish people could see this more. I strongly believe their lives are being exploited and it's a social injustice at this point.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:02 PM   #94
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Kumbaya, you are spot on with this critique of FTT and discussion about marriage conformance pressure.

Simply said it’s disgusting.

One of the best things we can do is warn people about it on this forum.

Thanks for contributing your firsthand view of these things.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:44 PM   #95
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Kumbaya, you are spot on with this critique of FTT and discussion about marriage conformance pressure.

Simply said it’s disgusting.

One of the best things we can do is warn people about it on this forum.

Thanks for contributing your firsthand view of these things.
Like so many others, I experienced the pressure first-hand to attend the FTT. Thankfully I never attended, but the fact that they attempt to pressure people into attending is disturbing to say the least. I don't know that the FTT was conceived with ill motives, but what they are trying to accomplish, and the means by which they go about it is as you say - disgusting.

I have known quite a few who attended the FTT. The difference before and after is remarkable, and not in a good way. Personalities change, people become cold and distant, it is sad.

Also, the usage of the FTT to arrange and orchestrate relationships and marriages is one of the things that I find to be the most concerning and questionable. If those in charge have that much control over young and impressionable trainees, then they essentially have the ability to control them in any way they want.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:27 PM   #96
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Kumbaya, you are spot on with this critique of FTT and discussion about marriage conformance pressure.

Simply said it’s disgusting.

One of the best things we can do is warn people about it on this forum.

Thanks for contributing your firsthand view of these things.
Thanks, I question getting so detailed in my responses but this is not a small thing to me. It deeply bothers me. I had to take a few days off from looking at this site because I'm still in the "accepting" phase of letting go of trying to "convince" family members and friends. I'm just trying to tell myself, "Jesus, I trust you."

That's it. That's all I can do right now. I hope anything I wrote helps anyone else (if not my own family) because everything I write is what I WANT to say to them, but there's a wall and I don't get far.

I feel like if people can just learn about thought reform and spiritual abuse practices- that's ALL it takes. Just awareness about what is and isn't right in relationships will give you the perspective where God can lead you.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:09 PM   #97
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Like so many others, I experienced the pressure first-hand to attend the FTT. Thankfully I never attended, but the fact that they attempt to pressure people into attending is disturbing to say the least. I don't know that the FTT was conceived with ill motives, but what they are trying to accomplish, and the means by which they go about it is as you say - disgusting.

I have known quite a few who attended the FTT. The difference before and after is remarkable, and not in a good way. Personalities change, people become cold and distant, it is sad.

Also, the usage of the FTT to arrange and orchestrate relationships and marriages is one of the things that I find to be the most concerning and questionable. If those in charge have that much control over young and impressionable trainees, then they essentially have the ability to control them in any way they want.

I agree with you that I don't know that there are ill motives. I definitely believe they are disillusioned motives. I always heard growing up in the LC (I don't know if it's LC lingo, our locality, or just our family) that, "You are who you are until you're different."

Well, administrators of the FTT- you've been asked to look at your techniques in teaching these "trainees" for some time now. At what point is using these "thought reform" techniques just willful ignorance or an intentional practice? Neither of them are ok....

I recieve emails from someone in the training right now that I don't even know, it's kind of funny. I guess I got on his email "update" list somehow. It's exactly the same tone and wording I got from the updates when my family member was in- very strange.

I agree with you on being concerned about the marriage issue. I have a friend who married after meeting their spouse in the FTT- they're divorced now. Obviously, everyone is different and I'm not saying that's the case for everyone. But to think you really know someone after serving with them on campus for maybe 2 years tops, never being alone, and just having "fellowship" and maybe 3 dates, is unreasonable.
You're being set up to fail because it's already become your idol- not natural at all. Just sad.

But- this is not LIFE, thank GOODNESS!!!!! Praise God that this is not life. I hope it's not the lives of most trainees but from experience just seeing it, from the outside it seems to be the case.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:37 PM   #98
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Well, administrators of the FTT- you've been asked to look at your techniques in teaching these "trainees" for some time now. At what point is using these "thought reform" techniques just willful ignorance or an intentional practice? Neither of them are ok....

I recieve emails from someone in the training right now that I don't even know, it's kind of funny. I guess I got on his email "update" list somehow. It's exactly the same tone and wording I got from the updates when my family member was in- very strange.
I have a number of LC members as friends on Facebook and I noticed a pattern with those who have attended the training. Upon starting, they will add a "canned" post on their page explaining that they will be unavailable to communicate on Facebook or by phone for a duration of a few months. It really makes you wonder just what they are being told to do. It is definitely not normal to convince people that they need to drop virtually all communication with the outside world.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:31 AM   #99
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I feel like if people can just learn about thought reform and spiritual abuse practices- that's ALL it takes. Just awareness about what is and isn't right in relationships will give you the perspective where God can lead you.
Absolutely. In the thought-world of the LSM-affiliated lc, they get only one perspective. They are afraid to be exposed to any other as it might shatter the veils. What kind of sick-bed faith is that? Where is the fresh air? Where is the light? The transparency?
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:54 AM   #100
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I have a number of LC members as friends on Facebook and I noticed a pattern with those who have attended the training. Upon starting, they will add a "canned" post on their page explaining that they will be unavailable to communicate on Facebook or by phone for a duration of a few months. It really makes you wonder just what they are being told to do. It is definitely not normal to convince people that they need to drop virtually all communication with the outside world.
Yes, that's really what it was. Their schedule was so busy- it was either a rule or "unspoken" rule to communicate with family on Monday. I knew that if I wanted to talk to that family member on the phone- I needed to call at that time. I'm not saying that in and of itself is bad....its all the benign rules and structure that slowly change a person to just follow. Independence isn't really possible. It's just a system that's very unbalanced. Yet, that is somehow "expressing Christ?" Doesn't make any sense to me. It seems like it just makes sense that their experience with the Lord and growth is only limited. I've seen the same sort of posts on FB, it's part of the process and just easier to follow the path set before them instead of stepping outside the behavioral box. I think the rules run so deep with things that so much is unspoken pressure- and that's hard to identify unless you grew up in it. I know it's true bc I was influenced by it. The "way" to do things is pretty clear in the LC when you're a "church kid." To not do it, of course, is to not "be one." Which, of course, is not the way of Jesus- it's the way of the Pharisees. Jesus didn't fit in. We all have our own paths and convictions....

I guess I just had the epiphany recently that this is not Bible school. In this day in age, you don't need to communicate/learn in the FTT environment to learn the Bible.

Ironically enough, I remember after the first semester of the training that my family member was in- they complained to me about the way they were tested. It wasn't a test in which they had to show their knowledge of the concepts and ideas about the Bible or ministry in a general way and in their own words. They had to memorize EXACT wording. It just clicked with me- it's so important for them to indoctrinate the trainees with the exact wording. "All-inclusive" "life-giving dispensing"- you know the lingo. It's all in this long looking paragraph full of strange adjectives and explanations- yet it's one sentence. Just the fact that they have to learn the exact wording in their testing and not be able to explain it in their own words- says a lot.

Funny, in school we call that plagiarism! They need those words repeated verbatim though.

Has anyone been to a FTT graduation?? Wow- PERFECT EXAMPLE!!!! It's like an out of body experience when you're not around these methods. You have a couple hundred people, who all look like they're high on life (which is great, not saying it's not Jesus. Obviously, they're proud of their accomplishment of finishing), and they all, one by one, just say about 5 different versions of the same thing. There's about 5 ideas being "preached" and a few funny stories, but they all just take turns talking about these points, using the LC lingo.

Someone needs to record it. Obviously, I'm not trying to make fun of these people. I would be doing the same thing if I went to a thought reform school! It just changes you, alienates you, and takes away your self awareness.

I would just encourage anyone who knows someone going or is thinking about going, to read about thought reform tactics and ask yourself if you see them in the FTT and even LC, and if you think that its ok to practice them and combine them with your faith. Also, do your own research on church history and doctrine before you go and don't take everything WL says as fact. I'm learning the hard way on that!!

God bless
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Old 01-06-2018, 12:26 PM   #101
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Absolutely. In the thought-world of the LSM-affiliated lc, they get only one perspective. They are afraid to be exposed to any other as it might shatter the veils. What kind of sick-bed faith is that? Where is the fresh air? Where is the light? The transparency?
This is hitting home. I was talking to someone today (former family in LC) about this. They really are afraid to be exposed to any other idea. I believe they 100% believe they're right, but the FEAR of being "poisoned" is real.

In Scientology, they call it being a "suppressive" person when you speak out against scientology. Of course, they call all criminals suppressive people too- so when you're speaking out against scientology in general and trying to warn family members against the harmful practices of the group- you're then labeled as "suppressive" and lumped in the same group as criminals.

Obviously, I don't think the LC is that extreme but the mindset is there on a smaller scale. Just the fact that this family member KNOWS I have a lot to say, other family too, and this family member in the LC AVOIDS discussing it with me says a lot. I've reached out before and was shut down.

If you really think about it, in a normal situation where thought reform isn't involved....if you knew a family member was concerned about a decision you were making, wouldn't it be ok approach them and reassure them, and wouldn't it be the RIGHT thing to do when concerned about a family member/friend to approach them about a decision they were making that you thought could be harmful to them? Does that act have to mean that you're attacking them/their character/and that you're "poison" that they shouldn't listen to?

No, that's what happens with communication in the US VS. THEM mindset. Even though we're both Christians, they've been taught to believe the VISION OF THE AGE. Therefore, they believe that they are in the light- others who don't agree are in the dark. Therefore, they will love you- but don't question their VISION because that's their whole identity because they're so wrapped up in this way of thinking. To question it, is POISON, not light. To doubt it would be too much of a programmed response of guilt/shame that they would go through even doubting it- so they don't hear you. Everything you say just sounds crazy to them. You slowly do become the enemy bc in their eyes, you're opposing the VISION of the AGE. The ENTIRE reason for EXISTING and the WAY to BRING THE LORD BACK. Of course, you're now poison.

Even if you're a Christian.

How is this the body of Christ??

In REALITY, when you care and love someone- you're not "suppressive" or "poison" to tell them about something that concerns you that they're doing. As long as its done with love, its NORMAL to do that.

I get that we all avoid things, but this family member is totally avoiding the issue with me and it just is this huge "elephant in the room" situation and it's sad. Our connection isn't there anymore. It hurts bc I know she sees me as "poisonous" now. That's why the communication isn't there. I feel this because in the past, I thought the same thing about people who spoke out against the church. I've also heard it described to me that way my whole life. It's US VS. the WORLD. You're in the dark or you're in the LIGHT. The people in the LC are convinced that they are the Christians who are IN THE LIGHT and other's are blind. I thought this my entire childhood. Even if I didn't like the LC practices as a young person, that idea was ingrained in me. I knew though that I wasn't going to be able to fit in to that lifestyle and keep up with those standards, I'm too much of an individualistic person- so the guilt and shame set in.

"Fit in eventually or get out" - that should be the LC's motto.

Fear is a good control tactic. I've said it before but it wasn't until years after I stopped meeting with the church that I looked anything up online.

What was I so afraid of? I was afraid subconsciously of being confronted with information that would "ruin" my outlook and make me uncomfortable. It's so much easier to just go with the flow.

I really feel like people in the LC think the boogeyman is going to jump out of the computer and poison their minds if they dared to look anything up for themselves. I wouldn't admit it to myself then, but I was too scared I would read something that would "change" me. What happened to being able to defend your beliefs?? I mean, what was I thinking?? It's so interesting to think back on my mindset then. This is why I truly believe thought reform is strongly in play. I would like to say that my whole life, I could defend my beliefs and faith to some extent to someone either outside the LC or an unbeliever. But I can't say that bc I never read or knew anything about the group I met with, other than what was told to me by the elders.

Much easier to just ask an elder and get their version of events. That's satisfying enough apparently.

I asked this family member to read some things and I don't think she did. She just told me she was actually already aware of the situation and told me that her prayer for me was to spend as much time reading the Bible as I did looking up this stuff.

Wow. Nevermind the fact that the only reason I did spend so much time was because it was all too unbelievable and I was HOPING to prove it all wrong. I had to spend that much time to prove to myself that I wasn't totally nuts for seeing this info and starting to accept the reality of the situation. It totally messes with your head- I needed to KNOW what I was reading wasn't just "lies." I sent her some links and I don't know but I doubt she read them. Her response was basically that she already "knew" about some of the situations I wanted her to read, but I would bet she got one side of the story. I've truly tried to read both, I've read from the "afaithfulword" site and it only CONFIRMED my suspicions that all these things really happened and that really bad practices were in play! The second link on their page is "QUARANTINE" for goodness sakes! But, she just said though that "bad things" have happened with former elders and that as a whole, everything wasn't like that. I heard the same thing when I was in. She truly does not see that this isn't healthy and her response only confirmed that thought reform is going on. Her response was very PC LC lingo-ish and included the words "amidst" and basically, followed the exact pattern I've read about happening when confronting people who've been in thought reform. When confronted they dismiss, admonish, then shame. That is exactly what happened when I tried to confront her with these issues - I got "shamed" that I was spending too much time looking into these things instead of being in the Word. As if, the events I was talking about were so crazy that they didn't even warrant being looked into. According to her, I should just blindly follow the LC/LSM, read my Bible, and never question that maybe these people are aren't following Godly practices and maybe they're not on the right track. That was the response I got though and I don't think she sees anything wrong with it. I don't think she's capable of seeing it or with the fact that our relationship has suffered due to this issue and that by itself is a red flag. I guess, to her, it's better that our relationship is severed than to be "poisoned."

It's all hurtful. All these things are things I wish I could say to her. But I can't- so posting them anonymously and hopefully someone else can hear them.

I know our family isn't the only one who has/is/will go through this.
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Old 01-07-2018, 03:20 AM   #102
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This is hitting home. I was talking to someone today (former family in LC) about this. They really are afraid to be exposed to any other idea. I believe they 100% believe they're right, but the FEAR of being "poisoned" is real.
One way to deal with the fear and resistance is to meet people where they’re at. Jesus met the Samaritan woman at mid-day, at the well, and didn’t ask her to go to Jerusalem or the holy mountain. So if you want to talk to them, do it on their terms. Talk about their ministry today, about their admitted history in their own books, about the Bible that they use. Make them confront their own illogic.

Example:

Joe: “Hi cousin Mary. Nice to see you. How are you today?”

Mary: “Good, Joe. What’s going on?”

J: “Sorry if I was a bit confrontational last week. I’ve been thinking and I’m grateful to have been brought up in the Christian faith, and exposed to the Bible, and in a loving and stable environment. I have a lot to be thankful for.”

M: “Oh, good.”

J: “Yes; and actually, I was reading the Recovery Version the other day. I was wondering why “You will not let my flesh see corruption” in Psalm 16 was deemed prophetically indicative of Christ, while “You rescued me because You delighted in me” in Psalm 18 was deemed vain human concept. Both were written by David, a sinful human being. Yet in one the sin of the psalm-writer was accepted, while in the second it supposedly disqualified the validity of the statement? What do you think about this?”

Or,

J: “You know, Mary, I noticed in the footnotes that some passages were called “natural concepts” because the psalm-writer expressed ill feeling toward others, and wished them harm. Witness Lee said in the footnote that the NT principle is love, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness. Yet in other places, the OT protagonist gets a free pass to be violent: David slaying Goliath, or Samuel killing Agag, etc. Or a verse like Psalm 45:5, inside a discourse Lee says is on Christ, gets ignored: "Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies. . ." Why do you think OT violence is condemned in some places by Lee, but ignored or encouraged in others?”

Or,

J: “I was thinking about Watchman Nee, how he had a library of 3,000 books that he used for spiritual nourishment. How do you think that squares with the current “One Publication” idea? Do you really think that each of those 3,000 books was written by a single dominant minister of each era? Or were there multiple people putting out their ideas simultaneously, and Nee was able to profit from all of them? What do you think about this?”

Or,

J: “I was reading the biography of Watchman Nee by Witness Lee. In it, Lee shows how Nee was helped by Madame Guyon, on the inner life, and how Nee's “Spiritual Man” was heavily indebted to Jessie Penn-Lewis’ “War on the Saints”, and how Mary McDonough’s “Three Parts of Man” influenced his thinking (and later, Lee’s). Plus Nee credited Emily Fishbacher on the charismatic experience. Not to mention ME Barber teaching him all those years! (And Dora Yu, Peace Wang, Ruth Lee &c). Now, I'm wondering: if the ministries of all these women were obviously so instrumental in Nee’s spiritual development, why does the 'recovery' church he founded not allow women to teach? It seems that he was either illegitimately instructed by women, or his 'recovery' group is illegitimately suppressing valid and valuable women's ministries today. I don't see how one can simultaneously have it both ways here. What do you think?”

We can meet them where they are, on their own ideological turf, and ask them to face the apparent contradictions inherent in their thought-worlds. Now, Mary may have a good answer. Maybe Joe will learn something! Or she may say, “I dunno, let me ask an elder that question.” Or, “I don’t care. Why are you being so negative?”

But either way, Joe has asked her to think, which is always a good thing. People don’t like illogic. They don’t want incoherence: to simultaneously face two contradictory positions. If someone holds up the contradiction, and lets them face it, then the wheels are set in motion.

And my examples were just representative samples; one may find other contradictions without too much work. Incoherent thought abounds in this group - it's a direct result of the isolation. LC people typically avoid discomfort caused by dissociation by "compartmentalizing" and hiding the incoherence - make them face it. They possess a functional mind, given to them by God - open all the compartments, let the light in, and make them use it. They'll sort it out, just like you and I have. No need to be "negative" - just be open.
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In REALITY, when you care and love someone- you're not "suppressive" or "poison" to tell them about something that concerns you that they're doing. As long as its done with love, its NORMAL to do that..
Amen.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:34 PM   #103
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Fear is a good control tactic. I've said it before but it wasn't until years after I stopped meeting with the church that I looked anything up online.

What was I so afraid of? I was afraid subconsciously of being confronted with information that would "ruin" my outlook and make me uncomfortable. It's so much easier to just go with the flow.

I really feel like people in the LC think the boogeyman is going to jump out of the computer and poison their minds if they dared to look anything up for themselves. I wouldn't admit it to myself then, but I was too scared I would read something that would "change" me. What happened to being able to defend your beliefs?? I mean, what was I thinking?? It's so interesting to think back on my mindset then. This is why I truly believe thought reform is strongly in play. I would like to say that my whole life, I could defend my beliefs and faith to some extent to someone either outside the LC or an unbeliever. But I can't say that bc I never read or knew anything about the group I met with, other than what was told to me by the elders.
Fear goes hand-in-hand with control. It's interesting to note that when the LC makes reference to groups, individuals, or material that is not pro-LC, they will use generic terminology such as negative ones, negative speaking, etc. They won’t qualify what is ‘negative’ about it. Even in the instances where they do get more specific (such as literature produced by the DCP), the defense of LC positions or teachings always comes from an ‘official’ source, rather than it being represented as something that any member could defend.

For years, I was completely aware that there are many people out there who weren’t supportive of the LC. It didn’t concern me much, and I didn’t really want to know anything about it. I swallowed anything that I was told - they had complete control on the information that was available to us. Ironically, what eventually changed, is that it became more relevant to me to understand why outsiders weren’t interested in the LC. In the area I’m from, some of the local elders and Andrew Yu started making a push to re-attempt implementing WL’s “vital groups.” In particular, there was a big emphasis on gaining “new ones.”

Of course, such a push failed miserably, however, it left a single lingering question in my mind – why are people so resistant to the LC? That kind of question could normally be ignored, if there were no particular pressure to be trying to recruit new members, but the question became an important consideration since I didn’t want to fail at what the elders were expecting us to do.

I was disappointed when I noticed that the elders made no attempt to equip us to address people’s concerns about the LC. I then became more interested in finding out for myself what was out there on the internet. The information didn’t change my mind overnight, but what eventually did change my mind was when I realized how much that is out there that has gone unaddressed by the LC and its leaders. It could be said the facts were what ‘poisoned’ me. I had lived in fear of information. The same information that the LC was incapable of addressing. Once I realized that the LC had no interest in addressing the concerns and information that really mattered, it made such information all the more meaningful.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:15 PM   #104
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J: “I was reading the biography of Watchman Nee by Witness Lee. In it, Lee shows how Nee was helped by Madame Guyon, on the inner life, and how Nee's “Spiritual Man” was heavily indebted to Jessie Penn-Lewis’ “War on the Saints”, and how Mary McDonough’s “Three Parts of Man” influenced his thinking (and later, Lee’s). Plus Nee credited Emily Fishbacher on the charismatic experience. Not to mention ME Barber teaching him all those years! (And Dora Yu, Peace Wang, Ruth Lee &c). Now, I'm wondering: if the ministries of all these women were obviously so instrumental in Nee’s spiritual development, why does the 'recovery' church he founded not allow women to teach? It seems that he was either illegitimately instructed by women, or his 'recovery' group is illegitimately suppressing valid and valuable women's ministries today. I don't see how one can simultaneously have it both ways here. What do you think?”
You learn something new every day!! Thank you-this example especially. I'm going to read about it and hope to one day (God willing) use an example like this if the situation comes up. I used to think of the LC like a two sided coin of bad practices (one side) and spiritual abuse (on the other)...

Now I'm seeing it more like a multi-sided dice of all kinds of misleading deceptions.

These concepts were clearly not WN or WL's alone. But even if they were, they are just theories, correct?

I'm not sure what the "lingo" is with Biblical doctrine- so I'm just comparing to scientific equivalents....

The fact that WN or WL claims to KNOW the truth about all the debated doctrines of the Bible is a huge red flag for me.

I would love to find a group that teaches the possible THEORIES with certain issues-aside from the main issues of the faith. A group that teaches the Biblical interpretations as a whole, then lets you decide for yourself. That's what we all deserve to have. It seems so simple, but its not!
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:38 PM   #105
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Fear goes hand-in-hand with control. It's interesting to note that when the LC makes reference to groups, individuals, or material that is not pro-LC, they will use generic terminology such as negative ones, negative speaking, etc. They won’t qualify what is ‘negative’ about it. Even in the instances where they do get more specific (such as literature produced by the DCP), the defense of LC positions or teachings always comes from an ‘official’ source, rather than it being represented as something that any member could defend.
So true, I never thought about it like that. I wonder if even HALF the people in the locality I grew up in even know about the DCP- seriously!!!

The afaithfulword page isn't linked to the local church or LSM page- is it?

I may be wrong- but it seems like their "defense" of their practices is purposefully "NOT LINKED" to anything regarding "the local church," unless you painstakingly search for it.

I'm sure the more members know, the more questions there would be and more likely the facade would come crashing down.

You're right, I've only been told about the "negative ones" and "lies."

After I made some statements about my concerns to an elder, it was "believe what you want to believe. Obviously you've been reading some lies on the internet."

I wish I was kidding. He did attempt to give an explanation to my concerns but not in a way that answered my questions or really addressed them. It was almost too hard to read bc it was dismissing as a whole and this was someone who was/is close to my family.

I'm not blaming him- I fully believe he believes he's doing the right thing. It's just easier to dismiss and see someone as a "lost sheep."

I guess that's me! To them, at least! I'm still in the accepting phase of this, obviously...I'm getting better but I'd be lying if I said it didn't still make me really sad. Less tears now at least!
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:48 PM   #106
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I was disappointed when I noticed that the elders made no attempt to equip us to address people’s concerns about the LC. I then became more interested in finding out for myself what was out there on the internet. The information didn’t change my mind overnight, but what eventually did change my mind was when I realized how much that is out there that has gone unaddressed by the LC and its leaders. It could be said the facts were what ‘poisoned’ me. I had lived in fear of information. The same information that the LC was incapable of addressing. Once I realized that the LC had no interest in addressing the concerns and information that really mattered, it made such information all the more meaningful.
These are exactly my feelings. NO ONE wants to talk about it, if you do- you're "difficult".

"Freedom, just love the Lord and your place in the body. Praise the Lord for the body and the divine order!"

Ok, I'm being sarcastic here... but really- that kind of passive aggressive dumbing down power move is EXACTLY what happens. And it's too much- gotta call it out when I see it now. Hopefully, people reading will RECOGNIZE when it's being done to them.

You're using someone's relationship with the Lord and their place in the body of Christ AGAINST them- dismissing and subliminally shaming them, in order to get a certain desired behavior. It's called spiritual abuse. It's manipulative and a sin in the body of Christ. I saw it and see it all the time.

I'm by no means perfect and have a lot to account for before the Lord, but it doesn't take a Dr. to recognize someone with a broken arm when a bone is sticking out of their skin. It also doesn't take going to a seminary or a degree in Biblical studies to see the LC is a breeding ground for spiritual abuse with their practices.

If I can help one person see, then writing all this is worth it. Even if it doesn't help anyone, I appreciate the support so much!
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:27 AM   #107
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The fact that WN or WL claims to KNOW the truth about all the debated doctrines of the Bible is a huge red flag for me.
This should be a big red flag for anyone. "Here we have ended our search", we sang. But Jesus taught us to seek.He said, "Blessed are those who seek". . . The journey is not over.

WN & WL claimed to have it all figured out. This is hubris and delusion. The journey is not over.

This stuff is straight from Pilgrims Progress. Amazing how many got fooled, including myself.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:05 PM   #108
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We used to sing a song that said “the Lord hath yet more light and truth to break forth from His word” in my early days in TLR. I never heard that sung in my later days. I haven’t been able to find that song when I’ve searched for it in recent years. I’d love to get a link to it again.

I like what was said about “red flag” on this thread.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:41 PM   #109
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I found the hymn I just mentioned: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/817/f=pdf
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:03 PM   #110
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Ok, I'm being sarcastic here... but really- that kind of passive aggressive dumbing down power move is EXACTLY what happens. And it's too much- gotta call it out when I see it now. Hopefully, people reading will RECOGNIZE when it's being done to them.

You're using someone's relationship with the Lord and their place in the body of Christ AGAINST them- dismissing and subliminally shaming them, in order to get a certain desired behavior. It's called spiritual abuse. It's manipulative and a sin in the body of Christ. I saw it and see it all the time.
Spiritual abuse runs rampant in the LC, and it’s largely because those in the LC assume that the leaders have only the best intentions. LCers thus become willing to let things go that they really shouldn’t let go. They become willing to dismiss concerns as being nothing.

One lesson that I learned the hard way was when I came to realize that people in the LC will take advantage of those who are readily willing to forgive others, or those who are non-aggressive. If you happen to stand your ground, then all the sudden, you get labeled as “having an offense” with someone.
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Old 01-16-2018, 09:56 PM   #111
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One lesson that I learned the hard way was when I came to realize that people in the LC will take advantage of those who are readily willing to forgive others, or those who are non-aggressive. If you happen to stand your ground, then all the sudden, you get labeled as “having an offense” with someone.
You're so right. The program is set up by abusive men, and enables hot-tempered personalities. Once when I decided to stop taking the blame, and calmly refused to back down from his aggressions, the elder went ballistic on me, and I was nearly hospitalized. Later I was lectured about forgiving him, and "protecting" the eldership.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:56 AM   #112
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You're so right. The program is set up by abusive men, and enables hot-tempered personalities. Once when I decided to stop taking the blame, and calmly refused to back down from his aggressions, the elder went ballistic on me, and I was nearly hospitalized. Later I was lectured about forgiving him, and "protecting" the eldership.
In the back of my mind, I could always tell that there was something not quite right about how LCers interacted with each other with respect to conflicts and conflict resolution. In fact, most of the conflicts that I observed were manifested as angry outbursts instead of being just a simple disagreement. Such outbursts occur because the LCM does not feel that the 'lesser' party should stand their ground, and "agreeing to disagree" is not viewed as an appropriate resolution. One side must "take the cross" which always ends up being the person who is not in an authority role.

I had an interesting situation where the wife of an elder was making a point to say things publicly towards me that were demeaning, all because she didn't like my personality. There wasn't anything I could do about her behavior, being that she was the wife of an elder. And indeed, when people had previously tried to confront her about the same type of behavior, she had become livid. The elders all knew very well that she was a problem, but the felt that people affected by her behavior should just not worry about it.
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Old 01-17-2018, 11:12 AM   #113
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In the back of my mind, I could always tell that there was something not quite right about how LCers interacted with each other with respect to conflicts and conflict resolution. In fact, most of the conflicts that I observed were manifested as angry outbursts instead of being just a simple disagreement. Such outbursts occur because the LCM does not feel that the 'lesser' party should stand their ground, and "agreeing to disagree" is not viewed as an appropriate resolution. One side must "take the cross" which always ends up being the person who is not in an authority role.
The constant abuse and lack of civility all comes from the top. Supposedly this aspect of TLR came from a sister M. Barber, who "perfected" Nee by rebuking him. Remember the old saying, that "it" of the "sh" kind always rolls down hill. By the time I left, there was a line ringing in my head, "this program turns beloved brothers into bullies." It was all too evident on every level. Bullies just reproduce themselves. It also partly explains so many family breakups.

Can someone please show me just one scripture for this "recovered" method of perfecting brothers?

I talked to my son about his time in the LC. He relayed a story about going on an overnight church camp. While they were playing basketball, one of the kids was moody and went to his dad complaining. Dad came back, never asked a single question of any of the other boys, and went to my son and grabbed him around the neck. But Dad was a "burning" brother who went door-knocking with the elder, so he was never held accountable. How can a chaperone behave like this?
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:27 PM   #114
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In the back of my mind, I could always tell that there was something not quite right about how LCers interacted with each other with respect to conflicts and conflict resolution. In fact, most of the conflicts that I observed were manifested as angry outbursts instead of being just a simple disagreement. Such outbursts occur because the LCM does not feel that the 'lesser' party should stand their ground, and "agreeing to disagree" is not viewed as an appropriate resolution. One side must "take the cross" which always ends up being the person who is not in an authority role.
That's usually how it works. The one in authority role almost never seeks reconciliation for their actions or their speaking. You or I as the non-authority ones would be expected to "take the cross". When you say taking the cross, it is usually intended to be "not making an issue".
I think the brothers could care less if the cross is taken or not. That's a matter between the individual and the Lord.
What the brothers really care about is "not making an issue". If there's an unresolved matter and a brother is exercised to use the prayer meeting or prophesying meeting as an opportunity to "tell it to the church", that's not the type of conflict resolution the brothers are willing to entertain.
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:33 PM   #115
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I talked to my son about his time in the LC. He relayed a story about going on an overnight church camp. While they were playing basketball, one of the kids was moody and went to his dad complaining. Dad came back, never asked a single question of any of the other boys, and went to my son and grabbed him around the neck. But Dad was a "burning" brother who went door-knocking with the elder, so he was never held accountable. How can a chaperone behave like this?
Being a father myself, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more instances of children not willing to talk about being bullied. In the local churches, it does happen. I have seen it and I have heard about it. Real question is how will parents respond when their children come forward? Some parents no matter how submissive they have been in the past towards responsible brothers, you touch their children physically or verbally, the line has been crossed.
Other parents may care more about their standing in the church, the church is more important than their children.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:57 PM   #116
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That's usually how it works. The one in authority role almost never seeks reconciliation for their actions or their speaking. You or I as the non-authority ones would be expected to "take the cross". When you say taking the cross, it is usually intended to be "not making an issue".
I think the brothers could care less if the cross is taken or not. That's a matter between the individual and the Lord.
What the brothers really care about is "not making an issue". If there's an unresolved matter and a brother is exercised to use the prayer meeting or prophesying meeting as an opportunity to "tell it to the church", that's not the type of conflict resolution the brothers are willing to entertain.
The LC view of authority is based on some kind of notion that for a leader to make a compromise or admission of any sorts would undermine his authority. LC elders and leadership thus adopt a “take it or leave” it attitude. The ‘lesser’ party must be the one to make the compromise.

In the LC, I observed quite a few problems occur that the elders should have addressed and they failed to anything. It seemed to be that they didn’t want to have to make a difficult decision. Rather than use their position as a leader to present a solution, they instead used their position to reinforce their level of authority, to make sure that both sides knew that they didn’t have to take any action if they didn’t want to.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:17 AM   #117
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The LC view of authority is based on some kind of notion that for a leader to make a compromise or admission of any sorts would undermine his authority. LC elders and leadership thus adopt a “take it or leave” it attitude. The ‘lesser’ party must be the one to make the compromise.

In the LC, I observed quite a few problems occur that the elders should have addressed and they failed to anything. It seemed to be that they didn’t want to have to make a difficult decision. Rather than use their position as a leader to present a solution, they instead used their position to reinforce their level of authority, to make sure that both sides knew that they didn’t have to take any action if they didn’t want to.
Jesus healed. He forgave. But when they tried to make him king, he refused. When they asked him to command others, he balked: "Who put me in authority over you?" Luke 12:14

Beware of wolves who dress like sheep. They create 'ekklesia' based on some abstract ideal, say, "oneness". And you become convinced this is the way. And one day you wake up and you are far from the reality of the kingdom. The ideal was merely a leverage point over your mind.

You will see that these people do not heal, nor forgive. But they want to tell you what to do. What to say, what to read, what to think.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:53 AM   #118
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One side must "take the cross" which always ends up being the person who is not in an authority role..
Jesus had the authority to heal. What authority to these wanna-be satraps have? To boss others around?

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I had an interesting situation where the wife of an elder was making a point to say things publicly towards me that were demeaning, all because she didn't like my personality. There wasn't anything I could do about her behavior, being that she was the wife of an elder. And indeed, when people had previously tried to confront her about the same type of behavior, she had become livid. The elders all knew very well that she was a problem, but the felt that people affected by her behavior should just not worry about it.
This is a rigid and inflexible system where there is one "untouchable" at the top, and people on the way down have different degrees of "touchability" depending where they are in proximity to the Untouchable One.

Completely set up for infiltration and usurpation by the evil one. It's no contest folks - satan loves this stuff. For him this is like eating cocoa crispies. Yummy yummy. We need to break out of the idea that we got a new and improved model imported from foreign shores. Just because it seems different from the Western denominations doesn't mean it is. Same system, different label. People dominating others. People who lack self-control trying to manipulate a "favorable" scenario to make themselves feel better.

Jesus is the new and improved model. Somehow we get tricked into thinking that the gospel got "processed" or "re-configured" and somehow we get to behave poorly, because we're aligned with some conceptual model, "God's economy" or whatever. You end up killing people (at least figuratively) and thinking that you are serving God. See e.g., John 16:2
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:59 AM   #119
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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Jesus healed. He forgave. But when they tried to make him king, he refused. When they asked him to command others, he balked: "Who put me in authority over you?" Luke 12:14

Beware of wolves who dress like sheep. They create 'ekklesia' based on some abstract ideal, say, "oneness". And you become convinced this is the way. And one day you wake up and you are far from the reality of the kingdom. The ideal was merely a leverage point over your mind.

You will see that these people do not heal, nor forgive. But they want to tell you what to do. What to say, what to read, what to think.
In the past it's been easy to maintain ignorance. Not so easy today, with so much information at our fingertips.

Ignorance was easier to maintain before the internet, easier still a hundred years ago, and completely easy a thousand, two thousand, three thousand years, etc., ago.

It's also easy to maintain ignorance in cult groups, that close members off from information other than that that comes from the cult.

If we start with answers before the questions ignorance is easy to maintain ; or if we trust only the cult's answers, before we even had the questions, ignorance is easy to maintained.

Today there's no excuse for ignorance. If we've been in the LC, and have come out, we've got a lot of catching up to do. Trapped in our ignorance we fell behind.

There's lots to learn in this world ; the universe is big. When we begin to think for our self, after the LC, we should feel cheated from discovery of so much truth.

For some reason some just don't want to think for themselves. This makes them prime material -- good material, if you will -- for cults.

I understand that the world is easier if we let someone else do our thinking ... but then we just accept ignorance because it's easier. It's the lazy way to go.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:09 PM   #120
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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In the past it's been easy to maintain ignorance. Not so easy today, with so much information at our fingertips.

Ignorance was easier to maintain before the internet. . ..
We're now 20 years into the advent of homo electronicus and the walls that the mind-control types have built are coming down. As with Gutenberg. . .

Of course there are always walls. But some are coming down.

I keep thinking of 2 verses. One from Paul, about not getting led away from the simplicity of the gospel (2 Cor 11) and the other from Mark 1:1, maybe the first words of what eventually became known as the New Testament. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. . ."
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:51 AM   #121
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Default Re: Signs of Decline in LSMs Recovery - Tomes

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The constant abuse and lack of civility all comes from the top. Supposedly this aspect of TLR came from a sister M. Barber, who "perfected" Nee by rebuking him. Remember the old saying, that "it" of the "sh" kind always rolls down hill. By the time I left, there was a line ringing in my head, "this program turns beloved brothers into bullies." It was all too evident on every level. Bullies just reproduce themselves. It also partly explains so many family breakups.

Can someone please show me just one scripture for this "recovered" method of perfecting brothers?

I talked to my son about his time in the LC. He relayed a story about going on an overnight church camp. While they were playing basketball, one of the kids was moody and went to his dad complaining. Dad came back, never asked a single question of any of the other boys, and went to my son and grabbed him around the neck. But Dad was a "burning" brother who went door-knocking with the elder, so he was never held accountable. How can a chaperone behave like this?
Scripture shows that M.E. Barber’s mean, scolding, browbeating, unloving, unforgiving, and divisive “mentoring” of the group of young Chinese boys (including Watchman Nee) was not worthy of Christ’s calling and was the opposite of the perfecting of saints to the work of ministry that builds up the church, the one body of Christ. Read Ephesians 4 again http://biblehub.com/blb/ephesians/4.htm. It says:
v2 humility, gentleness, bearing one another in love is the first characteristic of a walk worthy of Christ’s calling (v1)
v3-6 being diligent to keep the unity of The Spirit in the uniting bond of peace is the second characteristic (not working to divide off a small group of “the enlightened”)
V7-13 to each one of us grace (not meanness or a domineering spirit) was given by the ascended Christ toward the perfecting of the saints (not just a group of young men) unto the work of the ministry for the building up of the body of Christ until we all (not a chosen few) may attain unto the unity of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
v 15-16 speaking the truth is in love and should be for the whole body to be built up in love (I never got the impression this was the case for her)
v29 wholesome and only good words (not harsh and demeaning) should come out of our mouths for edification and building up of others (not tearing down)
v30 bitterness, rage, anger, slander, clamor, with all malice are to be removed from us (not part of our teaching or treatment of others)
v31 we are to be kind and tender hearted toward each other, forgiving each other as God in Christ forgave us

The fact that the founder of “the local churches” had his beginning that way, and that sort of behavior is common in “the local churches” today is a big reason to leave and/or stay away from them.
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